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The Bamu River lies in one of Papua New Guinea’s poorest and least developed regions of the Western Province.

Here—among the swampy shores and the villages perched on stilts—it is not uncommon for women to marry as young as 15 or 16 and begin having babies soon after.

One woman I met in her early thirties was pregnant with her ninth child. She came to our clinic seeking family planning – exhausted by the struggle of feeding the children she already had.

Each village – a culture unto itself – often has its own dialect, beliefs and customs.

Yet there are also many commonalities between the women of the Bamu region:

They are the primary providers for their families, working long hours to harvest sago in the hope that it will be enough to feed their husbands and children for one more day.

They are clothed in long-forgotten hand-me-downs, often torn and stained from years of use.

Some drink from water tanks, others live in villages where clean water is not yet available.

They give birth without fanfare and raise children without parenting books.

One extreme

On one end of the spectrum you have extreme cases like that of Bokoro’s – a woman from the village of Mirowu who was giving birth on a small board in the mud behind her house when we met her. It was there she delivered her daughter, surrounded by ankle-deep mud.

Bokoro’s head was partially covered from the rain under a small tarp strung between two branches, and her newborn baby was being kept dry by a banana leaf overhead.

In Bokoro’s village, women remain in their small, temporary shelter behind their homes until they stop bleeding – anywhere from 2-4 weeks following the birth.

A better scenario

Other women are lucky to have someone like Josephine help them give birth.

Josephine is the unofficial birth attendant in Bamio where there is an aid post staffed by two Community Health Workers. She is untrained—but experienced—and works to make childbirth as safe as possible for the women of her village.

She brings them into the thatched delivery room on stilts and helps them onto the bamboo bed, no mattress or clean sheets or running water in sight.

After delivery she cares for them, watching closely for postpartum haemorrhage and helps them to recover, keeping them as clean as she’s able given there’s no water tank in this village of 500.

The luckiest of women

And other women – perhaps the luckiest – are able to travel to a government-funded Health Station in Emeti to give birth to their child under the care of experienced nurse, Antonia Iwani.

Antonia trained for three years in Kapuna School of Nursing (back when nursing was still only available to women) and then worked for two years at Kikori Hospital before returning to her home village of Emeti where she now supervises the Health Station and three Community Health Workers, as well as the aid posts in Bamio and Bina.

“Midwife” is only one of the hats that Antonia wears, but as she showed our volunteer midwife and I around their maternity ward it was obvious that she was skilled and knowledgeable – a clear authority in the region.

In Emeti there have only been three maternal deaths since 1997, a stark contrast to the nine she was aware of in outlying villages since the start of this year.

She proudly showed us the birthing bed – a hard wooden surface covered by a well-used, slightly torn tarpaulin. On the end hung small stirrups, no mattress in sight.

An AusAID handbook detailing what to do in emergency situations hung on the wall beside the bed with a single nail.

In the corner of the room was a simple wooden bassinet.

She showed me the supply cabinet and told me what drugs are commonly administered – oxytocin for third stage labour, and antibiotics and antimalarials if needed.

The final stop on our maternity ward tour was the indoor shower where mothers could rinse themselves, washing the remnants of birth down the drain.

Together we looked through the birth registry – over forty births since earlier this year: mothers, just like me – in their twenties and thirties (with some reaching into their teens and forties) – and babies typically born after an average of one hour of labour from start to finish, weighing no more than 2-3 kilograms.

Most women, like me, would be terrified to birth in a maternity ward void of electricity or life-saving devices. And yet here, in the Bamu, the Health Station’s simple ward is a luxury not afforded to many.

Though her resources are limited, it’s clear that Antonia provides excellent care for her patients.

Bringing change to the Bamu

Next year will mark Antonia’s thirtieth year of providing health care in the region.

This unsung hero has seen much change over the course of three decades, and yet there is still much work to be done.

One of the greatest needs is maternal education in the villages, where many—like Bokoro—give birth even without the aid of traditional birth attendants. Things like hand washing and gloves and sterile blades to cut umbilical cords (clean birth kits) can help to reduce the risk of infection and incidence, and yet that is only a part of the solution. Education is desperately needed on topics like third stage labour and postnatal care, especially in regards to postpartum haemorrhaging (and secondary postpartum haemorrhaging) due to retained placenta.

Ideally, Antonia would have the means to travel to outlying villages up to four times a year to give care and provide health education, but when I asked her how many times she’d been so far this year she shook her head and said, “the funding is just not there.”

The women of the Bamu are a strong, courageous breed of mothers. There are not many places in the world where childbirth has more drastic implications or where the phrase “miracle of life” has more poignant meaning.

For Bokoro, Josephine, Antonia, and hundreds more like them, this is the reality they live with every day of their lives.

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Discipleship Training School - Townsville Campus

Our Discipleship Training School (DTS) gives you the opportunity to set aside five and a half months of your life to grow in your faith while serving the world around you. After 13 weeks of training and discipleship at our campus in Townsville, Australia, we take you on nine weeks of cross-cultural outreach. The DTS is a life-changing experience! 

10802NAT - Certificate III in Discipleship 

 

Dates
  • 30 January - 1 July, 2022
  • 17 July - 16 December, 2022

 

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Discipleship Training School - Port Moresby Campus, Papua New Guinea

The DTS will run from our new satellite campus in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea. The DTS will include a unique combination of discipleship, hands-on missions experience during both lectures and outreach, and the opportunity to make history as we establish a new campus in Port Moresby for generations to come.

Dates
  • 23 January - 2 July, 2022

 

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Resources

Joining us for a Discipleship Training School (DTS) or Gap Year with us soon? We have compiled a few resources to help prepare you for the amazing journey that’s ahead!

 

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For Parents

Do you have a child that is interested in a YWAM DTS or Gap Year? We have created some resources for you as your child navigates their YWAM experience. 

 


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Global Health & Development Gap Year

Our Global Health & Development Gap Year calls those whose heart beats to see communities thriving - physically, socially, emotionally, and spiritually. The Global Health & Development Gap Year is designed for both those that have experience in the health / community development industry, and for those who are starting out on their journey of healthcare in missions.

10802NAT - Certificate III in Discipleship

HLT31220 - Certificate III in Basic Health

HLTAID009 -  Provide Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation

HLTAID013 - Provide First Aid in remote or isolated site 

HLTAID014 -  Provide Advanced First Aid

Dates
  • 30 January - 16 December, 2022

 

 

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Media & Radio Gap Year

Good communication is essential for strong relationships, healthy families, and communities! Our mission is to train and equip effective communicators to share good news and influence change. 

Our Media & Radio Gap Year program is designed to help you grow in your faith while sharpening your skills in the creative arts industry. You will have the opportunity to put your skills into action both on the field and in an office environment.

10802NAT - Certificate III in Discipleship

CUA31020 - Certificate III in Screen and Media

Dates
  • 30 January - 16 December, 2022

 


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    Volunteer

    Whether you are an experienced health professional, a university student, an enthusiastic young person, or a skilled mariner, we invite you to consider volunteering aboard the MV YWAM PNG in Papua New Guinea!

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    Join the YWAM Medical Ships team by becoming a Community Ambassador or Youth Ambassador in your local community. 

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    The Ship

    The MV YWAM PNG is equipped with a dental clinic, day procedure unit, laboratory, four patrol tenders, and accommodation for 130+ volunteers. 

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    Delivering basic services in Papua New Guinea (PNG) poses enormous challenges with 84 percent of the population living in remote, rural areas.

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    Join YWAM Staff

    Our volunteer staff team is a diverse mix of different nationalities, ages, skills, giftings, and backgrounds. Their dedication and passion makes what we do possible and we are always looking to expand our team!

     

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    Communication

    Good communication is essential for strong relationships, healthy families, and communities! Our mission is to help mobilise effective communicators to share good news and influence change. Our communication pathways are tailored to suit your level of experience and the time you are willing to invest.

     

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    Global Health

    Our global health pathways include options for both experienced healthcare professionals, and those who are looking to be trained. Whether you are supporting logistics or in the thick of treating patients in a remote village, you can be assured that you will play a vital part in helping to build healthy lives, communities, and nations!

     

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    Hospitality

    Hospitality is a powerful gift that helps build community and shows care for the individual. Our hospitality pathways are designed to help equip you to deliver various aspects of hospitality with excellence.

     

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    Events

    Events have the power to strengthen hope and build community. Our events pathways will equip you to create unique events with excellence and a bit of pizazz!

     

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    Training

    Training is the key to multiplication! Our training pathways are about equipping others with the skills, knowledge, and character they need to serve communities.

     


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    Youth Precinct

    We recently acquired a facility in Townsville's CBD for the purpose of establishing a vibrant youth precinct. The property includes a 32 bedroom residential facility, a large warehouse, and a substantial outdoor space, all just half a block from the YWAM Townsville City Campus.

     

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    Youth Adventures

    Youth Adventures is the ultimate service based learning opportunity for young people. We do all the work for your school or youth group so you can do the mission!

     

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    Our school seminar programs are designed to empower and motivate youth to live full and productive lives. Book these engaging and interactive seminars to strengthen your young people. 

     

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    VET in Schools

    Vocational education is one of the best ways for young people to explore their passions and get equipped. We offer several registered training programs for youth. In addition to all of the expected elements of a training program, our courses have an emphasis on building good character and the soft skills needed to be employable, while also giving students the chance to practice their skills within our organisation. 

     

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    Youth Ambassadors

    As a Youth Ambassador you will have the opportunity to lead your peers and the wider community in helping to support the work of YWAM Medical Ships in Papua New Guinea.

     

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    Work Experience

    We offer the opportunity for students to complete their work experience at our city campus in Townsville. This unique opportunity gives students the ability to not only explore a future career pathway, but also get a taste of working with a local charity that is dedicated to serving the community.

     


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    VET in Schools

    Vocational education is one of the best ways for young people to explore their passions and get equipped. We offer several registered training programs for youth. In addition to all of the expected elements of a training program, our courses have an emphasis on building good character and the soft skills needed to be employable, while also giving students the chance to practice their skills within our organisation. 

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    Discipleship Training School

    Our Discipleship Training School (DTS) gives you the opportunity to set aside five and a half months of your life to grow in your faith while serving the world around you. After 13 weeks of training and discipleship at our campus in Townsville, Australia, we take you on nine weeks of cross-cultural outreach. You will also have the option of choosing an elective, giving you the opportunity to explore your passions and calling. The DTS is a life-changing experience! 

    10802NAT - Certificate III in Discipleship 

     

    Townsville Campus
    • 30 January - 1 July, 2022
    • 17 July - 16 December, 2022
     Port Moresby Campus
    • 23 January - 2 July, 2022
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    Introduction to Global Health & Development

    Be immersed in a powerful combination of essential basic healthcare knowledge and community development training, with a focus on preventing illness, promoting holistic wellbeing, and empowering communities to develop their strengths.

    HLT31220 - Certificate III in Basic Health

    HLTAID009 -  Provide Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation

    HLTAID013 - Provide First Aid in remote or isolated site 

    HLTAID014 -  Provide Advanced First Aid

    Dates
    • 17 July - 16 December, 2022

     

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    Discipleship Bible School

    During the course, you will have an opportunity to dig deep into the Bible, reading through all 66 books, gaining an overall perspective of God’s story. You will learn techniques for effective Bible study, and a series of speakers will help unlock the Bible’s fascinating content.

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    To be announced

    Port Moresby Campus
    • 12 September - 15 December, 2021
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    Purpose & Leadership Development

    An internship with a difference! This is a two year, hands on course that trains you in the core aspects of being a full-time volunteer with YWAM anywhere in the world. The skills and knowledge you will gain during the two years apply to much more than just the missions context, they can be transferred to your next job, ministry opportunity, or further study. 

    10899NAT Certificate IV in Christian Missions

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    Advanced Leadership Development

    The Advanced Leadership Development  is a hands-on, two-year course that gives you the opportunity to develop your understanding of leadership from a Biblical perspective. The training includes a combination of classroom-style learning, practical application, and mentoring. 

    10944NAT Diploma of Christian Missions Leadership

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    Certificate III in Business

    This course is a great introduction into the business world. Your learning will give you a broad set of skills including financial administration, document production, workplace organisation, and customer service. The course includes a combination of online study and volunteer work experience at the YWAM Townsville City Campus, allowing you to gain real ‘on the job’ experience within the context of a charitable service. 

    BSB30120 Certificate III in Business

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    Certificate III in Events

    Our mission is to train and empower event coordinators who can facilitate excellent events that inspire and promote celebration. This course will provide a pathway for you to work for event or exhibition organisers in a range of industries. These include the tourism, travel, hospitality, sport, cultural, and community sectors. 

    SIT30516 Certificate III in Events

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    Certificate III in Hospitality

    At the heart of our hospitality training is the desire to impart to students how excellent hospitality can express a sense of peace, value, and belonging. A Certificate III in Hospitality provides a pathway to work in restaurants, hotels, cafés, and coffee shops. 

    SIT30616 Certificate III in Hospitality

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    Introduction to Radio & Media

    Introduction to Radio & Media will equip you as a radio announcer, podcaster, or audio producer. As part of your training, you will be working at 99.9 Live FM where we are announcing to over 26,000 listeners in North Queensland with the message “It's Good to Be Alive.” 

    CUA31020 Certificate III in Screen and Media

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    Certificate I in  Construction

    Construction is an integral part of building infrastructure and stronger communities. A Certificate I in Construction is a great introduction into the construction industry. This course will equip you with the basic skills and knowledge for the use of construction tools and materials, interpreting and reading plans, taking measurements and making calculations. 

    CPC10111 Certificate I in Construction

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    Provide First Aid

    During this course you will be equipped with the skills to respond and provide first aid for accidents and injuries, provide life support, provide CPR and manage a casualty’s condition until further help or assistance is available. Your training will be a combination of theory and practical hands-on experience to equip you to assist others in need.

    HLTAID011 Provide First Aid

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    Our Training Approach

    Our vocational training is designed for those who are seeking not only a qualification, but also an opportunity to use their vocation to serve others. We combine elements of informal, formal, and non-formal education to not only impart knowledge and skill, but also good character, important life skills, and the motivation to serve and invest into the lives of others.


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    Volunteer

    Looking for an opportunity to serve while meeting new people and experiencing a new culture? We have a range of dynamic volunteering opportunities in both Australia and Papua New Guinea for both groups and individuals of all ages.

     

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    Mission Build

    Mission Building is a volunteer program that gives you the opportunity to experience life at our campus all while supporting our work in Australia and PNG. Join us for two weeks to three months at a time that suits you!

     

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    Medical Ship

    Whether you are an experienced health professional, university student, enthusiastic young person, or skilled mariner, we invite you to consider volunteering aboard the MV YWAM PNG in Papua New Guinea!

     

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    Discipleship Training School

    Our Discipleship Training School (DTS) gives you the opportunity to set aside five and a half months of your life to grow in your faith while serving the world around you. After 13 weeks of training and discipleship at our campus in Townsville, Australia, we take you on nine weeks of cross-cultural outreach. You will also have the option of choosing an elective, giving you the opportunity to explore your passions and calling. The DTS is a life-changing experience!

    10802NAT - Certificate III in Discipleship 

    Townsville Campus
    • 30 January - 1 July, 2022
    • 17 July - 16 December, 2022
    Port Moresby Campus
    • 23 January - 2 July, 2022

     

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    Youth Adventures

    Youth Adventures is the ultimate service based learning opportunity for young people. We do all the work for your school or youth group so you can do the mission!