We will get back to you in 48-hours or less!

The Bamu River lies in one of Papua New Guinea’s poorest and least developed regions of the Western Province.

Here—among the swampy shores and the villages perched on stilts—it is not uncommon for women to marry as young as 15 or 16 and begin having babies soon after.

One woman I met in her early thirties was pregnant with her ninth child. She came to our clinic seeking family planning – exhausted by the struggle of feeding the children she already had.

Each village – a culture unto itself – often has its own dialect, beliefs and customs.

Yet there are also many commonalities between the women of the Bamu region:

They are the primary providers for their families, working long hours to harvest sago in the hope that it will be enough to feed their husbands and children for one more day.

They are clothed in long-forgotten hand-me-downs, often torn and stained from years of use.

Some drink from water tanks, others live in villages where clean water is not yet available.

They give birth without fanfare and raise children without parenting books.

One extreme

On one end of the spectrum you have extreme cases like that of Bokoro’s – a woman from the village of Mirowu who was giving birth on a small board in the mud behind her house when we met her. It was there she delivered her daughter, surrounded by ankle-deep mud.

Bokoro’s head was partially covered from the rain under a small tarp strung between two branches, and her newborn baby was being kept dry by a banana leaf overhead.

In Bokoro’s village, women remain in their small, temporary shelter behind their homes until they stop bleeding – anywhere from 2-4 weeks following the birth.

A better scenario

Other women are lucky to have someone like Josephine help them give birth.

Josephine is the unofficial birth attendant in Bamio where there is an aid post staffed by two Community Health Workers. She is untrained—but experienced—and works to make childbirth as safe as possible for the women of her village.

She brings them into the thatched delivery room on stilts and helps them onto the bamboo bed, no mattress or clean sheets or running water in sight.

After delivery she cares for them, watching closely for postpartum haemorrhage and helps them to recover, keeping them as clean as she’s able given there’s no water tank in this village of 500.

The luckiest of women

And other women – perhaps the luckiest – are able to travel to a government-funded Health Station in Emeti to give birth to their child under the care of experienced nurse, Antonia Iwani.

Antonia trained for three years in Kapuna School of Nursing (back when nursing was still only available to women) and then worked for two years at Kikori Hospital before returning to her home village of Emeti where she now supervises the Health Station and three Community Health Workers, as well as the aid posts in Bamio and Bina.

“Midwife” is only one of the hats that Antonia wears, but as she showed our volunteer midwife and I around their maternity ward it was obvious that she was skilled and knowledgeable – a clear authority in the region.

In Emeti there have only been three maternal deaths since 1997, a stark contrast to the nine she was aware of in outlying villages since the start of this year.

She proudly showed us the birthing bed – a hard wooden surface covered by a well-used, slightly torn tarpaulin. On the end hung small stirrups, no mattress in sight.

An AusAID handbook detailing what to do in emergency situations hung on the wall beside the bed with a single nail.

In the corner of the room was a simple wooden bassinet.

She showed me the supply cabinet and told me what drugs are commonly administered – oxytocin for third stage labour, and antibiotics and antimalarials if needed.

The final stop on our maternity ward tour was the indoor shower where mothers could rinse themselves, washing the remnants of birth down the drain.

Together we looked through the birth registry – over forty births since earlier this year: mothers, just like me – in their twenties and thirties (with some reaching into their teens and forties) – and babies typically born after an average of one hour of labour from start to finish, weighing no more than 2-3 kilograms.

Most women, like me, would be terrified to birth in a maternity ward void of electricity or life-saving devices. And yet here, in the Bamu, the Health Station’s simple ward is a luxury not afforded to many.

Though her resources are limited, it’s clear that Antonia provides excellent care for her patients.

Bringing change to the Bamu

Next year will mark Antonia’s thirtieth year of providing health care in the region.

This unsung hero has seen much change over the course of three decades, and yet there is still much work to be done.

One of the greatest needs is maternal education in the villages, where many—like Bokoro—give birth even without the aid of traditional birth attendants. Things like hand washing and gloves and sterile blades to cut umbilical cords (clean birth kits) can help to reduce the risk of infection and incidence, and yet that is only a part of the solution. Education is desperately needed on topics like third stage labour and postnatal care, especially in regards to postpartum haemorrhaging (and secondary postpartum haemorrhaging) due to retained placenta.

Ideally, Antonia would have the means to travel to outlying villages up to four times a year to give care and provide health education, but when I asked her how many times she’d been so far this year she shook her head and said, “the funding is just not there.”

The women of the Bamu are a strong, courageous breed of mothers. There are not many places in the world where childbirth has more drastic implications or where the phrase “miracle of life” has more poignant meaning.

For Bokoro, Josephine, Antonia, and hundreds more like them, this is the reality they live with every day of their lives.

Apply Now

Learn More

Discipleship Training School - Townsville Campus

Our Discipleship Training School (DTS) gives you the opportunity to set aside five and a half months of your life to grow in your faith while serving the world around you. After 13 weeks of training and discipleship at our campus in Townsville, Australia, we take you on nine weeks of cross-cultural outreach. The DTS is a life-changing experience! 

10802NAT - Certificate III in Discipleship 

Dates
  • 28 January - 28 June, 2024
  • 14 July - 13 December, 2024
  • 13 October, 2024 - 14 March, 2025
  • 26 January - 27 June, 2025
  • 13 July - 12 December, 2025
  • 19 October, 2025 - 20 March 2026

Apply Now

Learn More

Discipleship Training School - Port Moresby Campus, Papua New Guinea

The DTS will run from our satellite campus in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea. The DTS will include a unique combination of discipleship, hands-on missions experience during both lectures and outreach, and the opportunity to make history as we establish a new campus in Port Moresby for generations to come.

Dates
  • 28 January - 28 June, 2024
  • 14 July - 13 December, 2024
  • 26 January - 27 June, 2025
  • 13 July - 12 December, 2025

 

Apply Townsville

Apply Port Moresby

Introduction to Global Health & Development

Be immersed in a powerful combination of essential basic healthcare knowledge and community development training, with a focus on preventing illness, promoting holistic wellbeing, and empowering communities to develop their strengths.

Townsville Campus

To be announced

Port Moresby Campus
  • 14 July - 13 December, 2024
  • 13 July - 12 December, 2025
Learn More
Learn More

HLT31220 - Certificate III in Basic Health

HLTAID009 -  Provide Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation

HLTAID013 - Provide First Aid in remote or isolated site 

HLTAID014 -  Provide Advanced First Aid

HLT31220 - Certificate III in Basic Health

HLTAID009 -  Provide Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation

HLTAID013 - Provide First Aid in remote or isolated site 

HLTAID014 -  Provide Advanced First Aid

 

Apply Now

Learn More

Global Health & Development Gap Year

Our Global Health & Development Gap Year calls those whose heart beats to see communities thriving - physically, socially, emotionally, and spiritually. The Global Health & Development Gap Year is designed for both those that have experience in the health / community development industry, and for those who are starting out on their journey of healthcare in missions.

10802NAT - Certificate III in Discipleship

HLT31220 - Certificate III in Basic Health

HLTAID009 -  Provide Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation

HLTAID013 - Provide First Aid in remote or isolated site

HLTAID014 -  Provide Advanced First Aid

Dates

28 January - 13 December 2024

26 January - 12 December 2025

 

Apply Now

Learn More

Discipleship Bible School

During the course, you will have an opportunity to dig deep into the Bible, reading through all 66 books, gaining an overall perspective of God’s story. You will learn techniques for effective Bible study, and your speakers will help unlock the Bible’s fascinating content.

You will also be taught on topics. For example – you will look at Worldview and Origins as you study through Genesis, Exodus, and Job. Or you might look at Leadership and Worship as you study the life of David in 1 & 2 Samuel, 1 & 2 Chronicles, and the Psalms. Each book is filled with insights to be discovered!

Dates

28 January - 28 June 2024

26 January - 27 June 2025

Apply Now

Learn More

Introduction to Radio & Media

Good communication is essential for strong relationships, healthy families, and communities! Our mission is to train and equip effective communicators to share good news and influence positive community growth.

CUA31020 Certificate III in Screen and Media

Learn More

All Courses

Our wide range of registered training courses are designed to help equip you for your field of passion.

We combine elements of informal, formal, and non-formal education to not only impart knowledge and skill, but also good character, important life skills, and the motivation to serve and invest into the lives of others.

Learn more about our approach to training

Learn More (Townsville campus)

Learn More (Port Moresby Campus)

Join YWAM Staff

Our volunteer staff team is a diverse mix of different nationalities, ages, skills, giftings, and backgrounds. Their dedication and passion makes what we do possible and we are always looking to expand our team!

Learn More

Pathways with YWAM

We have a range of pathways within our training and ministry that allows you to specialise in your area and grow your skillsets. From Hospitality to Global Health you can upskill yourself while impacting those around you

 


Learn More
Resources
Joining us for a Discipleship Training School (DTS) or Gap Year with us soon? We have compiled a few resources to help prepare you for the amazing journey that’s ahead!

Learn More
For Parents
Do you have a child that is interested in a YWAM DTS or Gap Year? We have created some resources for you as your child navigates their YWAM experience. 
Canvas Online Training

Login to complete your course homework here

 


Learn more

YWAM Precinct

Our recently developed YWAM Precinct located in Townsville’s CBD is the perfect hub for youth to find belonging and empowerment. A high, medium and low ropes course, brand new cafe, and multi-purpose warehouse space for seminars and other activities allows youth the opportunity to flourish through adventure based learning.

 

Learn More

Youth Ambassadors

As a Youth Ambassador you will have the opportunity to lead your peers and the wider community in helping to support the work of YWAM Medical Ships in Papua New Guinea.

 

Learn More

Work Experience

We offer the opportunity for students to complete their work experience at our city campus in Townsville. This unique opportunity gives students the ability to not only explore a future career pathway, but also get a taste of working with a local charity that is dedicated to serving the community.

 

Learn More

Schools & Youth Leaders

We know that really quality, committed youth workers, teachers and families are some of the best things young people can have in their formative years. Our hope is to make your job a little bit easier by offering adventure based learning, mentoring resources, leadership and training pathways, and service based learning opportunities for youth. 

 

Learn More

Transitional Accommodation

YWAM operates a home in Townsville for at-risk youth. YWAM receives tenant referrals from local collaborating youth support organizations.

 

Learn More

Vision & Approach

We have the hope to create a safe environment for the youth of Townsville to be, believing everyone has the right to hope for an abundant and healthy life physically, mentally, socially, and spiritually. YWAM works in partnership and by invitation through Australia and Papua New Guinea.

 

Learn More

School Seminars

Our school seminar programs are designed to empower and motivate youth to live full and productive lives. Book these engaging and interactive seminars to strengthen your young people. 

 

Apply Now

Learn More

Youth Adventures

Youth Adventures is the ultimate service based learning opportunity for young people. We do all the work for your school or youth group so you can do the mission!

 

Pre-Register for Impact Summer 2024

Learn More

Impact Summer

Make an Impact during your Summer as you engage in epic adventure, learning and serving. 

Gain valuable skills through hands-on learning experiences at The Stable and the new YWAM Precinct, complete with hiropes and rock climbing wall.

 

Apply Now

Learn More

VET in Schools

Vocational education is one of the best ways for young people to explore their passions and get equipped. We offer several registered training programs for youth. In addition to all of the expected elements of a training program, our courses have an emphasis on building good character and the soft skills needed to be employable, while also giving students the chance to practice their skills within our organisation. 

 


Learn More
Adventure Based Learning
Adventure based learning programs are complete with a high, medium, and low ropes course, cafe, and multi-purpose youth space to run programs with a ‘learn by doing’ and ‘challenge by choice’ philosophy.
 

Learn More

Precinct Cafe

Help build healthy lives and communities in Australia and Papua New Guinea while dining at the YWAM Precinct Cafe

YWAM Precinct Cafe is a not-for-profit cafe located at 312 Walker Street in Townsville’s CBD.

 


Apply Now

Learn More

Dental Trailer

YWAM Medical Ships is now operating a Dental Trailer in collaboration with key stakeholders in Port Moresby with the purpose of providing dental services, training opportunities, and health education to schools in the National Capital District.

Apply Now

Learn More

Small Boat Patrol Outreaches

YWAM Medical Ships is collaborating with key stakeholders in the nation by utilising small boats to bring health and training services right to the doorstep of those who need it most. These patrols have a specific focus on empowering the youth of communities to live healthy lives to contribute to a healthy nation.

Register Your Interest

Learn More

Ship Outreaches

YWAM Medical Ships - Australia & PNG has been operating medical and training vessels in PNG since 2010.

Learn More

Our Footprint

Delivering basic services in Papua New Guinea (PNG) poses enormous challenges with 84 percent of the population living in remote, rural areas.

See annual reports

Annual Reports

Read or download our annual reports. 

Learn More

Advocate

Join the YWAM Medical Ships team by becoming a Community Ambassador or Youth Ambassador in your local community.

Apply Now (Townsville Campus)
Apply Now  (Port Moresby Campus)
Learn More
Mission Build
Mission Building is a volunteer program that gives you the opportunity to experience life at our campus all while supporting our work in Australia and PNG. Join us for two weeks to three months at a time that suits you!
 
Apply Now
Learn More
Youth Adventures
Youth Adventures is the ultimate service based learning opportunity for young people. We do all the work for your school or youth group so you can do the mission!