Rita Maliliu_Photo Supplied

Four Vanuatu women who recently won Australian Awards will now work as highly qualified professionals in Vanuatu.

Rita Maliliu, who obtained a Bachelor of Security Studies from Macquarie University, is one of the recipients of an Australian Award.

She received an Australian Scholarship in 2019 and has spent the three years of her entire studies in Australia.

Ms Maliliu is a Police officer by profession and she has been working within the Vanuatu Police Force (VPF) for 16 years now. She joined the VPF in 2006 and graduated with a Diploma of Policing from the Vanuatu Police Training Wing.

Ms Maliliu said she has been working within various units and commands at the Port Vila Police Station.

“I am a Sergeant in rank and I was been with the VPF Criminal Investigation Team when I decided to go for further studies,” she said.

“My job as a detective and a police officer as well as my dreams for a higher education in either Australia or New Zealand motivated me to pursue the study program I had undertaken.”

Being away from her family, especially her children, partner, parents and siblings for three years was quite challenging.

“I was not able to travel back to Vanuatu for my dad’s burial, he passed away in February 2021 while I was on study,” she shared.

“The COVID-19 lockdown and challenges of studying during lockdown and not being able to return home to visit my family and missing important events that happened within my family.”

While studying, she planned to return back to her job as a police officer with the hopes to put into practice the knowledge and experience gained in her study program, and play a part to promote and improve policing practices within the VPF and national security in Vanuatu.

Whilst in high school, Maliliu planned to go for further studies in either Australia or New Zealand but she was faced with financial constraints. Her dream was put on hold until 2019 when she was awarded the Australia Awards Scholarship to study in Australia.

“There are always opportunities, we have to avail ourselves and take these opportunities seriously if we want to excel in our education or career path,” she said.

She continues to add that we must always have a strong will and determination to prove ourselves even when we feel there is nothing left for us, as there is always hope and a will when God is in control.

The other three graduates are Elani Namel, who graduated with a Bachelor of Nursing; Leisau Lakaleo who graduated with a Master of Professional Accounting, and Patricia Fred who graduated with a Bachelor of Arts.