After almost 20 years of preparing birthing kits for women in rural areas of Papua New Guinea (PNG), Joan Kluge and her sewing machine are retiring. This article is a tribute to the wonderful contribution which Joan has made over the years, to the church and to our sisters in Christ in PNG. Joan became […]
After almost 20 years of preparing birthing kits for women in rural areas of Papua New Guinea (PNG), Joan Kluge and her sewing machine are retiring. This article is a tribute to the wonderful contribution which Joan has made over the years, to the church and to our sisters in Christ in PNG.
Joan became involved in preparing birthing kits after hearing Margaret Voigt speak at a Lutheran Women’s conference. Margaret served Lutheran Health Services in PNG for many years and had seen first-hand the need for ongoing support to women giving birth in rural areas of PNG. Each kit contains a cloth sheet, plastic sheet, nappy, safety pins and a surgical blade (to cut the umbilical cord).
Initially a group of ladies from around Murray Bridge were involved in preparing the kits but over time the decision was made that each person would make up whole kits. Joan has made 90 – 100 kits each year, wearing out several sewing machines in the process! A group of ladies from Swanport Lutheran Village (Murray Bridge) have joined Joan at her unit, to help put the kits together. Joan has also enlisted assistance from family to source and collect materials needed for the kits.
The birthing kits program for PNG
For over 20 years, LCA International Mission, through Lutheran Women of Australia, individual women and other small groups, have been sending birthing kits to Lutheran Health PNG. The kits are collected and packed by Lutheran women across Australia, before going to the churchwide office for shipping to PNG (thanks to volunteers, Joan and Kevin Koster). The kits arrive in Lae, where they are delivered to various rural and urban health centres, for distribution to the women who need support for childbirth. The kits provide some basic needs to support the health of newborn babies, as well as providing a tangible link of love between women across the Arafura sea. It is a reflection of Christ’s love, in a very practical way, between sisters in Christ. It is hard to know how many lives have been saved through this program, but the love that connects women in Christ is a joy to see.
Joan’s mission heart, love and care for the pregnant women has been amazing. It has been a true example of reaching out to others so that they may know the love of Jesus. Well done good and faithful servant.
If you would like to consider the opportunity to join God’s mission through the assembling and donation of Birthing Kits, you are invited to phone Nevin Nitschke on (08) 8267 7300 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, go to https://www.lcamission.org.au/join-gods-mission/birthing-kits/
Read more stories about our partner church in Papua New Guinea at https://www.lcamission.org.au/category/stories/international-partners/papua-new-guinea/