Mr. Patel fondly recalled the very first year of the awards as he read through over 300 applications until 3am, often in tears saying, “That was the inspiration for me never to stop this program.” Now in its 8th year, the Pride of Papua New Guinea Awards continues to recognise these everyday women whose efforts speak volumes as they strive to achieve extraordinary things.
In her powerful address to the room, Lynda Babao O-Neill praised these amazing women calling them ‘true agents for change.’ She added, ‘These are women who do not crave the limelight, the public recognition, but saw needs required in their communities, took responsibility upon themselves to address those needs, found realistic solutions with the little that they had, and implemented those solutions, making differences to the lives of which they touched.” She added, ‘There are many people who complain, particularly on social media, but do nothing to be part of the solution. There are many people who are more concerned about being recognised by their title, the position that they hold, and actually forget to do the job. To be a service to the people, and not to be served by the people.” She commended the recipients and encouraged women to work harder in making respectful, supportive relationships with each other and ended her speech simply with the words “Because of you all, I believe anything is achievable. I have hope.”
Josephine is one of only 100 women serving as Court Magistrate in Papua New Guinea today. Her story is an astounding one of adversity and courage. At her village in Morata, Port Moresby, Josephine provides counselling services to women who suffer physical, sexual and emotional abuse at the hands of their husbands. She offers encouragement and support, guiding victims through the court process and bringing perpetrators to justice. Threats of violence against her by husbands and family members of the victims she assists often mar her courageous work.
In 2001, she was accused of practicing sorcery by a female pastor in her village which resulted in several incidents where she was physically assaulted by her own husband and family members. Josephine remained resilient and in 2010, successfully sued the pastor to clear her name. She also brought her husband and relatives to court. They received a caution and order to refrain from any further assault or threat.
Despite these challenges, she continues to serve her community as the Morata Village Court Magistrate. She is a shining example of bravery and courage.
After receiving her Diploma in Primary Teaching at the Bismark Institute of Teaching and Training in Kokopa in 2011, Delmay went back to her roots in Kavieng, New Ireland, to focus on educating her own people. This remarkable young woman spends her days tirelessly teaching both children and adults in her community. Delmay receives no salary for her work and instead says that her biggest reward is the knowledge that she is contributing to the education of the next generation.
Olivia, affectionately known as ‘Mama Olivia’, is a nursing graduate turned human rights advocate. Hailing from Poppondetta, she is a respected leader in her community and is the brainchild behind many initiatives currently running throughout Oro Province. When cyclone Guba devastated the province in 2007, Mama Olivia coordinated the setting up of several community programs including the creation of Chrispin’s Kindergarten - the first Early Learning Centre for children in Oro Province. She initiated the selling of seeds to grow climate resistant flowers, food, and also raised poultry to sell, to raise money for classrooms. In August this year, Mama Olivia’s tireless efforts attracted the interest of an Australian NGO specialising in early childhood education. The NGO came to her aid and donated classroom equipment and learning material.
Kori Maraga was born to teach. She began this noble profession at the tender age of just 19 and has never looked back. She is proud to say that she has taught some of Papua New Guineas most recognszable people including, Governor Loi Bakani, Dr Matthias Sapuri, Minister Mark Maipaikai and current opposition leader Belden Namah to name a few.
She is a woman of strong faith and family ties who credits her family (including 23 grandchildren!) to her continued success, and with no plans to retire, Kori believes that education is the key to ensuring stability and success for generations to come.
With a master’s degree in Applied Ecology from the University of Canberra, this incredible 27 year old is breaking boundaries one pig-nosed turtle at a time. Combining her passions for animal welfare, science and environmental issues, Yolarnie is currently assisting ‘The Piku Project’ which is underway in Kikori, situated in the Gulf Province of Papua New Guinea.
Yolarnie spends six months of her year in Kikori, painstakingly researching this little known freshwater turtle, whose numbers have sadly declined to the point of threat of extinction. She aims to educate the people of Kikori whose overharvesting have placed it on the CITES Threatened Species list.
‘Your attitude is the smallest thing you can change that will make the biggest difference,’ is how this Bougainvillian radio personality ends her shows as the only female radio announcer at FM100. Delisha immediately gained the repsect of her co-workers including veteran and well respected announcer Roger Hau’ofa who was greatly impressed by her broadcasting style and extensive musical knowledge. Delisha looks forward to a long career in the media industry and thanks CPL for the recognising and rewarding the dreams and aspirations of women throughout Papua New Guinea.
Image 1: Josephine Duria winner Bravery and Courage Award
Image 2: Josephine Duria winner Bravery and Courage Award
Image 3: Delmay Lopang winner Care and Compassion Award
Image 4: Delmay Lopang winner Care and Compassion Award
Image 5: Olivia Aripa Bunari winner Community Spirit Award
Image 6: Kori Maraga winner Education/Role Model Award
Image 7: Yolarnie Amepou winner Environment Award
Image 8: Yolarnie Amepou winner Environment Award
Image 9: Delisha Koine winner Young PNG Award
Images 1-6 & 9 courtesy CPL Group
Images 7-8 courtesy Ms Amepou