I can’t believe how quickly we’ve reached 25% of our goal to buy a new Meri Seif bus. It’s heart-warming to know that so many new and existing supporters are making an investment in women’s safety and freedom of movement in Port Moresby.
I am writing from Port Moresby, right now. This afternoon, I joined a bustling bunch of women and children for a portion of the Meri Seif bus route. What I witnessed were joyful faces, and smiles teeming with gratitude for the kind support received from people like you. They asked me to say ‘thank you’, and to let you know what a comfort it is to know that every morning and evening, that there is a space on the Meri Seif bus for them, a safe space, where they don’t need to give a second thought to being harassed, assaulted, or worse.
Now when I say there is a ‘space’, I use that term in the broadest sense of the word. What I experienced today was a busy bus, with standing room only, and this is the norm. What is so clear to me is that the demand for the Meri Seif bus program is bigger than ever. Women know what the bus looks like – painted purple, with messages of safety within – and queue up in hopes of getting on board.
We are in a fortunate position to have a family of Empowerment Champions who donate monthly, to help UN Women respond in times of crisis and to be able to scale up UN Women’s most successful programs. So I recently made the decision to send urgent funds for one bus to be purchased right away – which will address the immediate need of women and children living in Port Moresby given the unreliability of the current services.
Replacing one of the buses is one part of the solution. But after being here in Port Moresby and speaking with women today, I know that we need more than one new bus. One that’s built for Port Moresby, which will respond to the need, and ensure reliable and safe transport.
So let’s not stop now! Join me in celebrating this interim milestone, and in continuing my outreach, one person at a time, to close the gap to purchase another Meri Seif bus for Port Moresby’s women and children. We’re one quarter of the way there. Will you help us get to 100%?