As part of our COVID-19 Trans Resilience Campaign, APTN will be highlighting some of our COVID-19 Community Support Fund partners who have stepped up to provide vital support to the community during the pandemic. Read below about our first organisation and how they are navigating the challenges of the COVID pandemic to continue the important work they do.
Name of Organisation:
Hetura National Capital District (NCD) LGBT Group
Where we work:
Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea
Who we support:
Trans women, Trans men, Lesbian, Bisexual, Gay, People Living with HIV
What We Do
Hetura NCD aims to work in collaboration with national grass-root Transgender communities, to develop and implement activities for sustainability and to improve our membership, create community empowerment to take ownership and run program activities. expand the role of our transgender individuals and to defend the rights of our LGBTI communities in PNG.
Why We Do It
We do this due to the very high stigma and discrimination faced by the LGBT community in PNG (especially trans people), the very low access to health care services and counselling and the lack of knowledge of Human Rights information services and referral pathways that can benefit trans people.
The three most pressing issues facing Trans people during COVID-19 in our community…
- Added stigma and discrimination by the pandemic in terms of being vectors of disease and carriers of COVID-19
- Movement, safety and security
- Loss of income
What we did with our grant from the Community Support Fund
We purchased and distributed basic food rations, cash & phone cards for 40 trans community members who were displaced and most affected by the pandemic.
Photo Description: Hetura staff and volunteers purchasing bulk supplies for ration packages
What were some of our challenges?
Some of our challenges were not having enough funds for all affected, this led to criticisms from some community members who missed out. Safety and security issues were present during delivery of food rations, and PPE stock outs meant they were unavailable.
The loss of income for trans people working in the informal sector such as street vendors and for those in casual and/or informal areas like hospitality, beauty and hair salons has been difficult. Many have been laid off. Sex workers have been hit the hardest due to lack of clients.
Additionally, the poor internet and mobile connection was a challenge and costly, this limited the ability continue with ongoing projects and work including to meet and discuss proposal development eg for International Trans Fund
Photo Description: Community members receiving food rations
What we are hopeful for…
Definitely, Hetura was seen by members and others as a genuine group and we have seen an increase of new membership. We are hoping to compliment some of our existing activities with additional funds from the International Trans Fund in 2021, and hopefully get more funding to boost the work Hetura is doing with the trans communities.