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Sammy J in PNG

Written by guest blogger: Sammy J, Oxfam Australia Ambassador

I was lucky enough to travel recently with Oxfam Australia to Papua New Guinea (PNG), where I got to witness firsthand some of Oxfam’s excellent work tackling poverty.

While there I met some wonderful, inspiring people.

One such person was Kelly Inae (known around his community as ‘the honey man’). Kelly is what you might describe as a force of nature. He’s the sort of guy that can talk about “honey money” and get away with it.

Photo: Patrick Moran/OxfamAUS

Kelly lives in Goroka, up in the Eastern Highlands of PNG. A few years back he approached – or dare I say sweet-talked – Oxfam into partnering with him to start a honeybee business*.

And now the honey money is rolling in.

But rather than keep it all to himself, Kelly has been busy upskilling his community to be successful bee farmers like him.

“Through this business I have been able to help a lot of farmers, I supply them with my bee boxes and I train them,” says Kelly. “In a year of working with Oxfam I’ve trained almost 80 people.”

Photo: Patrick Moran/OxfamAUS

“I have managed to help all these people through the support that Oxfam has given me. I am happy about this.”

But Kelly isn’t done. He wants to see more women working in the bee business and wants to train the next generation so that together, they can build a sustainable industry the whole community can benefit from.

“Another thing I would like to see is more women working with the bee boxes. That is why I have come up with a family unit plan so that more women can do their own bee boxes, not just help their husbands,” he told us.

“If there is a generation of younger people who know these skills it will make the industry sustainable in this country. … In the future someone will say, ‘This house was built from honey money’. And I will love hearing that.”

What a guy. He allowed me to indulge my closet aspiration of becoming a world-renowned travel journalist by consenting to an interview. Check it out:

We also had a bit of fun filming a couple of spots for the Oxfam Comedy Gala:

Kelly wasn’t the only inspirational person I met while in the Eastern Highlands and finding out how bee farming works isn’t the only new thing I learned.

I also met some industrious and skilled women Oxfam is supporting to create their own business, generate an income and knit themselves out of poverty. Check out my impressive craft work here:

I also visited a school where Oxfam had installed enormous water tanks so that students no longer have to miss class to collect water and are less at risk of waterborne illness. I, ah, got myself into a spot of bother there, but it all turned out fine in the end. Let’s just say, they are very strong, very sturdy tanks. They passed my squishability test with flying colours. Well done, Oxfam!

It was such an enriching experience to be welcomed into the lives of the people of PNG that I felt moved to give back. So I put on a little concert for them – I think it went down well:

All in all, it was a wonderful trip and it was uplifting to see the genuine, real-world impact Oxfam is making in the lives of people living in poverty thanks to support like yours. From what I’ve seen with my own eyes, your donation really does get put to good use.

So if you’d like to support more work like that I saw in PNG, please donate to Oxfam today.

Photo: Patrick Moran/OxfamAUS

*This project is partly supported by the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.


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