Anybody out there looking around for bilums from Papua New Guinea. You need not look any further. Mt Hagen Handicraft Group is where you need to go for your bilums.
Just this morning I became acquainted with a link to a facebook page (OK, I’m on Facebook [or Assbook as my anti-FB friend calls it] but its all for educational, research and communication purpose. Trust me, none of that bubble-gum poppin, ‘oh-look-at-my-fly-ass-smile-at-the-camera shit).
Pardon that distraction but I meant to say I ran into the Mt Hagen Handicraft Group. This initiative is a self-help mothers’ group from the Western Highlands Province of Papua New Guinea who weave bilums – those beautiful hand crafted bags – and sell them online with the support of the Baptist Union of PNG.
As highlighted on their site, most of the mothers in this group are struggling and battling with difficulties in their lives. But these strong women have come together with a positive spirit to help themselves and have embarked on this initiative.
A high portion of the mothers in this group are living with HIV/AIDS in their families and communities. In fact, within the Mt Hagen Handicraft Group is another group called True Friends. All the women within True Friends are HIV+.
As stated on their site:
“True Friends provides training, support, counselling and friendship for these brave women who have publicly declared their HIV status. No small thing in the Highlands of PNG where there is still a great deal of ignorance regarding the transmission of HIV/Aids.
HIV+ people risk being shunned by their family and clan and in some cases have been subjected to extreme violence.
In this context the very existence of True Friends is a major achievement in itself.”
And I totally agree.
This venture is a true case of people being self-reliant and it needs our help in getting the word out there to see what they are doing. Please visit their site and check out some pretty stunning display of creative handiwork and buy them if you will. You just cannot go wrong there.
I give them TWO THUMBS UP and plenty!!
- Mt Hagen Handicraft Group
- Mt Hagen Handicraft Group on Facebook
- And what the bloody hell is a BILUM??