Papua New Guinea

The Re-Opening of My Primary School

Written by Shila Yukuli Paia on Friday, 01 April 2016. Posted in Papua New Guinea

a community working together to provide basic education for their children.

The Re-Opening of My Primary School

When I divorced in 2008 my people disowned me. I made it my business to raise awareness on gender based violence, human rights, education, health and poverty, both in my village and within settlements of Port Moresby. This talk was my last in my village before I came to Australia in January 2011. My people have learnt so much and are mobilised to make a positive change. This has been one of the milestone achievements of my career.

 

Women and Poverty in Rural Papua New Guinea

Written by Shila Yukuli Paia on Friday, 21 August 2015. Posted in Papua New Guinea

"Poverty can never be defined and addressed unless the voices of the poor are heard."

Women and Poverty in Rural Papua New Guinea

In a dark, cold cave, a lonely young woman gives birth to her first child. The world outside waits to share the joy of her first born child who has to be a boy. But not just yet. She can’t show off her baby boy for at least three months after this dirty process, this disgusting process of giving birth. After three days of hard, long excruciating labour, her baby is finally born. She looks over at her newborn with tears of joy, only to realise her baby is a girl. She is overwhelmed, frightened, anxious, confused, lost at the thought of disgrace and shame for giving birth to a female first-born child. The girl grows up mostly with her grandmother who is fearless of what society believes. As elegant and intelligent as she was, her grandmother taught her the skills of hunting, gardening and laws and customs about death and dying, marriages and social relations. All basic needs were available through hard work. Hard work was everything. Sweet potatoes for every meal, grass-skirts for clothes, bush hut for shelter, fresh creek water from miles away, lots of wood for fuel, bush herbs for healing. There were no schools, no roads, no airstrips, no health clinics. But one thing her grandmother instilled in her changed the perceptions of the entire village to this day: "Go to school when you can and work very hard because you will see a bright light beyond this sacred mountain".

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