The Vanuatu government has given its full backing to the Vanuatu Mission (VM) of Seventh-day Adventists and the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) to establish a family counseling center in Etas, an area southeast of the capital, Port Vila.
The Elang Family Care Centre will cater to the social, physical, mental, and spiritual needs of victims of violence, especially crimes, within a family setting.
The facility was opened on Sunday, May 16, by Vanuatu Minister of Finance, Johnny Koanapo Rasou, director of Women’s Affairs, Rothina Noka, ADRA Vanuatu country director, Richard Greenwell, VM general secretary, Pastor Kaio Timothy, and Efate district Adventist leader, Pastor John Leeman.
Danielle Masoe, ADRA project manager, said the decision to locate the family center at Etas was purely strategic. “Etas is home to well over 3,000 people from all walks of life. Through our work with the Vanuatu Correctional Services, statistics have shown that Etas would be well-suited to hosting such a counseling center.
“And it’s not just Etas. There is a burgeoning residential area in the nearby Teoumaville, which we believe will benefit immensely from such a center,” continued Masoe, who has overseen Blossom, an ADRA-funded program originally focused on teenage pregnancy issues since 2016.
Speaking at the opening ceremony on behalf of the government and the Ministry of Justice and Community Services, Noka praised VM and ADRA for putting Christ’s teaching into action through the setting up of such a facility.
“We’ve come here to celebrate the beginning of a new journey,” said Noka. She highlighted the results of a two-year-long program of activities developed under her tutelage since 2019 and geared towards assessing the impacts of what Vanuatu Women’s Centre (VWC) has done, especially in the area of gender-based violence.
Noka said Elang Family Care Centre was long overdue and urged Greenwell to consider expanding into other locations in the country. To her delight, Greenwell confirmed ADRA’s plans to establish more centers, first in Luganville, then in Tanna and other provincial centers.
For now, Elang Family Care Centre is the only center available, apart from the government-run VWC, which provides an avenue for victims of violence to seek counseling and advice with legal assistance.
Fully funded by ADRA, the centre will be manned daily by an ADRA-certified counseling coordinator.