With the support of a major Australian donor, City Mission was able to locate and eventually purchase a woman’s boarding house in Lae in December 2007. This was renovated and tenants on the ground floor were moved upstairs to clear the ground floor for a new Children’s Crisis Centre.
Because of our partnership with Anglicare Stop Aids in Lae, the Bishop of Port Moresby arranged to provide us with three Anglican nuns from their church in Popondetta to help the Mission run the centre and care for any children that arrived. Finally “Haus Clare,” which is named after the building donor's wife, was officially opened in September 2008 and by then the first five children moved in. These were young children whose parents had died of AIDS and were being neglected by relatives or wantoks that they had been placed with. We currently accommodate 18 children and fortunately, to date, none of our children at “Haus Clare” have tested positive for AIDS.
The Crisis Centre also accepts young children referred by the Women’s Support Centre and Doctors Without Borders at Angau Hospital who require crisis accommodation from time to time. The Lady Lioness Club of Lae and Soroptomists, have given wonderful support to the centre and many of these women volunteer their time to assist the children with their home work and recreational activities. Currently “Haus Clare” has a staff of eight, including an Administrator, a cleaner and security guards.The children are happy and well cared for and most of them have been placed in school at Markham Roadd Primary School in Lae.
There have been many requests from mothers whose husbands have died of AIDS to leave their children with us, but we will not accept children who still have a mother, as we strongly believe that the children should remain with their mother wherever possible. Efforts are also made to try and locate lost family members and relatives that may be willing to accept the children, provided we are sure that they will be well cared for. The program to date has been very successful and two young boys that turned 15 were transferred into the City Mission Farm program at the New Life Plantation and continue to attend school.