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Poverty Editorial

WHEN I was 18 years old I went on a family holiday to Papua New Guinea to visit my brother who was living in the Eastern Highlands.

My parents had lived in PNG during the 1960s and 1970s and both my brother and sister were born there.

We had grown up hearing about the beauty of the place, the kindness of the people and the wealth we appreciate in Australia.

At that time I thought I was a fairly socially-aware teenager, door knocking to raise money for Lifeline, selling Amnesty International T-shirts at my high-school, but nothing quite prepared me for seeing first hand just how wealthy I was.

We arrived in Port Moresby to be met by an old friend of my mother’s.

They had not seen each other for 20 years. Mum had helped her get a job thirty years earlier and she wanted to show my mother what a wonderful life she had made.

We jumped in the back of a ute and drove through the city to a shanty town built over the water.

I will never forget the proud smile on her face when she pointed out which house was hers.

She had made something of her life. She had worked hard, raised a family, owned her own home and even had access to a car.

Later that day Dad said the Army had told him that under no circumstances was he to go to that particular area.

One person’s shanty town is another’s home.

In this edition of Journey we look at poverty.

We are particularly focusing on poverty in our own backyard because poverty is not something that affects only Africa or India.

Throughout October there are many events highlighting poverty including Anti-Poverty Week and the Stand Up for Poverty campaign.

The Journey team would like to challenge our readers (and ourselves) to not only explore the meaning of poverty in our own communities, but “be the change we want to see in the world”.