Established in 2010 and run by an all-female staff, the Alotau-based Kedu Seif Haus has been the sole refuge for women suffering domestic and sexual abuse, including the recent spike in sorcery accusation related violence.
Director Deedee Nipuega took this newsroom on a tour of their rundown facilities, highlighting the daily challenges faced by the women as they do their best to protect survivors from their abusive partners and relatives, provide counseling and accommodate survivors and staff as well as carry out general upkeep of the residence.
With lawlessness being the main problem in the province, Kedu Seif Haus keeps getting broken into and vandalised. The women, most of whom are over the age of 40, have no choice but to also stand in as guards for the property.
Most times, they are forced to dig deep if funding from donors is delayed. The staff said the most recent delay involved a four-month waiting period due to the COVID-19 pandemic, where they had to look for food to sustain their clients and their own families.
Kedu Seif Haus staff are looking forward to moving out of their cramped quarters into a new building that was constructed under the leadership of former governor, Titus Philemon. However, with the change in provincial leadership, the state-of-the-art facilities are left to the elements and criminals since the women can only do so much.
The new building needs white and brown goods, electricity, water supply and fencing.
The staff stressed the need for sturdy fencing considering their new panelboard was recently vandalised.
While the numerous break-ins have been reported to police, nothing has been forthcoming.
Their plea is for their local leaders to support them as they serve the community and keep their women and children safe.
(Kedu Seif Haus Director, Deedee Nipuega, explaining the functions of each room)