Over the years, the busy suburb has become synonymous with crime. Every day, people move around the area with the fear of an attack and being held up.
The security of residents, commuters and businesses are largely affected by the crime wave that sweeps the homes, the bus stops, the streets, and the markets.
GYA Representatives, Klenneth Pombo and Unapo Yogomin talked about the young men and their efforts supported by their families and the community to restore a sense of security to their homes and the streets of the Gordon suburb.
GYA consists of a group of young men that can be found in their vests in front of the Jade Island store directing traffic and watching over commuters as they go about their business. Since the beginning of July 2021, GYA has not only been cleaning up the bus stops and market areas but also assisting commuters to move around freely.
Their presence in the area and willingness to assist people to avoid danger has brought about a sense of security and helped to drive out those few who are causing harm to people that move around the area.
Pombo outlined the main motivation for the group and the outcomes they would like to achieve.
He said, “The biggest things that we want to emphasize on is that we are not doing this for money, we are not getting paid officially, we are receiving donations from people but that’s them coming and giving it to us. We are doing this out of the motivation to just have a safer environment.”
“What we need is everyday people, citizens like you and I standing up and doing something for themselves. Because that’s how we will change anything in this country.
“I’m really proud that our guys are doing this simply because they want to. And if we can gain support from people because of that and in return be able to support ourselves and have this program continue then that’s the end goal,” said Pombo.
Unapo Yogomin explained that the group’s main aim is to bring back the essence of community spirit back into the community and aim to be a positive influence for other communities to follow.
“The main key factors em mipla just try lo help lo bring back the community spirit lo Gorodons, just make it safe for everyone. Everyone lives there and everyone just come, goes by. Yeah just lo kiskim displa spirit na meikim Gordon look safe. So everyone can go around na kam anytime.”
Yogomin said the community have had enough of the criminal activities that take place in the neighborhood.
“Mipla just lo changim Gordons, community blo mipla tasol. We had enough of this, bagarapim name blo mipla lo olgeta hap lo Mosbi na wanem only Gordon, but in fact, actually ino mipla ol lain stap sa meikim but em ol lain outside ol sa just come in na just bagarapim na ol move out go lo avinun but mipla sleep kirap everyday em mipla get the blame. Main point blo mipla em just lo changim.”
The association’s Facebook page, GYA, has gathered 3,665 followers and is garnering support from not just the community, but also law enforcement and business houses around the city, especially those in the Gordon area.
Pombo highlighted the outpouring support from these businesses. He said the youth are working with their hearts to make the place better. However, long term, that is not sustainable and that is why they are working to register their association formally.
He said, “Because we do want this to become a sustainable thing. We want it to be prolonged and keep going so that projects like this can have a positive impact on not just the Gordons suburb and the Northeast area of Moresby but the whole city as well.”
He added, “We want this to be a community project for ours and ours alone that other people may be able to replicate and be protective of it and take it as their own as well and go.
He added, “At the end of the day we all want to live in a safe city that’s a conducive environment for mothers, children and even us men as well. That’s what we want at the end of the day.”
The response from GYA family members, the community, the police, business houses and the public has motivated the group to keep the momentum going.
GYA leaders have also visited youth in several other suburbs to empower them to establish a similar initiative to theirs.