Helen Kailo – Sista Gat Style

An avid reader, activist, mother, radio host and actress who has featured in dozens of Wan Smolbag’s films and plays, Helen Kailo is one of the country’s best actresses and is someone who is committed to contributing to Vanuatu. Although Helen works primarily in theatre and filming, she also engages in community development workshops, team building, promotion of social and political ethics through community awareness work, including gender equality, empowerment of minority groups and human rights.

This photo shoot was taken at Dunstan’s Nakamal where Helen and her gang often hang out after a hard day’s work.

#PNGNiVanQueen #AelanGoddess #KeepingItReal

helen-kailo-wan-smolbag-vanuatu-sista-gat-style

Name:

Helen Kailo (Len)

Age:

29

helen-kailo-wan-smolbag-vanuatu-sista-gat-style

Where are you from?

My father is from the island of Aniwa and my mother is from Manus Province, Papua New Guinea.

Tell us about your family?

I have a pretty big family. My father passed away about 11 years ago, leaving my 4 brothers, my mother, my daughter and myself. But now my family has grown and I have my step dad and 6 stepsiblings that I love dearly. My brothers dubbed us the ‘Paradise Family’.

helen-kailo-wan-smolbag-vanuatu-sista-gat-style

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I enjoy the usual stuff like watching movies or reading a good book. I like listening to music by Childish Gambino, the Internet, anything of the RnB genre, some Pacific music and anything that’s trending. I enjoy hanging out with the gang at the nakamal after work. I am also obsessed with True Crime stories and Greek Mythology.

helen-kailo-wan-smolbag-vanuatu-sista-gat-style

What do you do for work?

I am an actress at Wan Smolbag Theatre. I joined when I was 18 years old and this year marks a decade of me being in the theatre group. My job description consists of us raising awareness on social issues through plays, films and community-engaged workshops. I absolutely 100% love my job! I get to travel, meet new people, act and talk about social issues in communities.

What do you aspire to do in the future?

To carry on the work that we are doing now by using theatre and film as a tool to encourage discussions in communities. Hopefully write a film or direct a play one day.

helen-kailo-wan-smolbag-vanuatu-sista-gat-style

What is a quote that you live by?

“A day without laughter is a day wasted” – Charlie Chaplin

How would you describe your style?

I think you create your own individual style. I like to wear what is comfortable for me, which are primarily jeans and a t-shirt. I’m into the disheveled look. I don’t like when things are too neat and that is sort of reflected in my style of clothing. I will throw on a dress once or twice but for everyday wear, it’s my trusty jeans and t-shirt.

helen-kailo-wan-smolbag-vanuatu-sista-gat-style

Who influences your style?

Comfort influences my style.

What beauty products do you use?

I grew up loving my mom’s scent, which is the Red Door Perfume by Elizabeth Arden.

helen-kailo-wan-smolbag-vanuatu-sista-gat-style

Any fashion tips?

Find what suits you best and rock it!

What is the most difficult thing you have had to face?

The most difficult thing I faced was not being able to complete my high school education and move on to university. But one thing I’ve learnt about challenges is that they help shape you and make you stronger. I am happy where I am. It was the difficult things that shaped me into the person I am today and had I taken a different path, I would not be this version of myself.

helen-kailo-wan-smolbag-vanuatu-sista-gat-style

What is one thing you wish you could tell your younger self?

To have more confidence in myself.

What are three words you would use to describe yourself?

Funny, Sarcastic and Caring.

helen-kailo-wan-smolbag-vanuatu-sista-gat-style


Assistant: Umi Nompavos

Photographer: Nicky Kuautonga

Hair, makeup, nails by Lotus Day Spa


This article was originally published in the September edition of the Vanuatu Daily Post Life and Style magazine.

1 Comment

  1. Mikate

    Go Helen

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  • Nursing College now has a strategic plan

    The Vanuatu College of Nursing Education (VCNE) now has a five-year strategic plan, after years of operating without one. The absence of a strategic plan is part of the reasons of the cessation of intakes from the college. The national education training provider has been operating as an internal unit of the Ministry of Health (MOH), it has no proper basis for its legal establishment and operations. The development of the plan is essential for the re-registration of VCNE by the Vanuatu Qualifications Authority (VQA) and marks a significant milestone in the institution’s development and accreditation process. It has been formally endorsed by both VQA and MOH. Acting Director General (DG) of Health, Dr Posikai Samuel Tapo, commended the VCNE Board, key stakeholders including the Vanuatu Australian Health Partnership and the Vanuatu Skills Partnership (VSP), for dedication and efforts in ensuring the plan aligns with the evolving needs of the healthcare landscape in Vanuatu and meets VQA compliance requirements. According to the MOH, the next steps for the re-registration include a final submission of a progress report demonstrating further compliance evidence to VQA. This step is essential to enable VQA to verify VCNE’s rectification progress and to start the renewal of the registration process. The ministry has signed a multi-stakeholder agreement with the Ministry of Education and the Department of Local Authorities for the flexible delivery of Certificate II Health Support Work, Certificate III Health Assistance, Certificate IV Nurse Aid, and certificate IV Village Health Worker, in outer provinces. “The flexible delivery of the certificate courses will follow a similar process already implemented by VIT, extending VQA-approved qualifications to individuals residing in remote areas,” stated the ministry. “The success of this program relies on the flexibility of the institutions involved to mobilise VQA-accredited trainers to the islands, to deliver demand-driven courses.” The Australian Government, under its support to the Government of Vanuatu through the Vanuatu Australia Health Partnership and VSP, supports the re-registration of VCNE and ensure that quality-based, flexible delivery of accredited nursing and health training is decentralised to the provinces for improved access to inclusive health services. ______________________________________________________________________ SOURCE: VANUATU DAILY POST

  • 22-year-old sentenced for rape of pregnant woman

    A 22-year-old has been sentenced to 5 years in prison for threatening a woman, who was 4 months pregnant, into engaging in sexual intercourse against her will. In July 2023, Amzy Apia illegally entered the victim’s home in Espigles Bay, northwest Malekula, and threatened her into engaging in sexual activity. He had a bush knife with him and warned her not to disclose the incident to her partner or he would harm them with a gun. This incident happened around midday while the victim’s partner was attending a football game at Matanvat village. Upon returning around 7pm, he saw her in tears and asked her what happened, prompting her to disclose the actions of the accused. He became angry and assaulted the complainant. They lodged a complainant with the police at Lakatoro on August 2. The defendant, Apia, was charged with one count of sexual intercourse without consent. He pleaded not guilty to the charge, but the court found him guilty. The victim was a newcomer to the area, having only arrived there with her partner in June. Oliver Abraham Saksak of the Supreme Court stated in the verdict dated February 22, 2024: “She deserve love and care from relatives, instead she was taken advantage of by a ravenous predator who does not deserve to remain in the community. Judge Saksak gave Apia a sentence start point of 8 years’ imprisonment. The aggravating features of the case were a serious breach of trust, threats used with the use of a knife and a gun, the victim being in her fourth month of pregnancy, risk of venereal diseases and the damage done her relationship with her partner and the occurrence of the offence within the confines of the private house of the complainant. After considering submissions by the defence counsel, Judge Saksak reduced the defendant’s sentence by 3 years due to his young age, being a first time offender, his personal character and history. Apia has already spent 3 weeks in custody before being granted bail. His sentence will commence on March 7, next Thursday, when he will report to the probation officer at Lakatoro for his transfer to the Correctional Centre in Luganville, Santo. He was given 14 days to appeal the sentence. _____________________________________________________________________ SOURCE: VANUATU DAILY POST

  • Voter education important for Referendum decision

    The Press Club of Vanuatu (PCV) is racing against time to go through the Constitution to help all eligible voters to understand what referendum means and why voters must vote ‘yes or no’. PCV Moderator Anna Naupa stressed to the public that the referendum has not yet been passed by the 52 Members of Parliament (MPs). What parliament did was approve the bill to organise the first referendum in the country on May 29 this year. But, in order to organise the referendum, voters must first understand the structure of the ‘Mama Loa’. Approximately 32 leaders of different political parties at the time particularly the New Hebrides National Party (NHNP which became the Vanua’aku Pati (VP) on Independence Day on July 3 of and Union Communities des Nouvelles Hebridais (UCNH) turned UMP). The Constitution was formulated at break neck speed of five months and signed on October 5 of 1979. For this reason, VBTC’s first PCV Panel was organised at the National University on Thursday last week. Students and individual members of the public were also present to listen. The Panelists are former Head of State and former Ombudsman, Mr. Kalkot Matas Kelekele who is one of the first drafters of the Constitution, USP Law Lecturer, Merilyn Temakon and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Transparency Vanuatu (TIV), Dr Willie Tokon. The Moderator said what VPC is doing is to strive to help the voters to understand the importance of the writing of the Constitution, which was akin to building the Nation’s first ever Road for the new country to follow, and why specific words and phrases had to be used to complete the structure in the spirit of a democratic society. She said referendum is a “direct voice” by the voters towards improving the ‘Mama Loa’ for the benefit of the population of Vanuatu. The first change to the law took place in 1980 when the name of the country was changed from The New Hebrides to The Republic of Vanuatu. “What this boils down to is the current national call for all MPs, Leaders of all political parties and denominations and their members and our over ten thousand strong young registered voters, to all come to vote to safeguard the way forward for our country through this first referendum,” she said in her introduction. “In a referendum, everyone is equal to give their vote towards the status of our country today and tomorrow, the theme is ‘Your voice is my voice”. The first question is: why does Vanuatu need a Constitution? Mr. Kelekele explained, “The Constitution was approved on October 5 of 1979, a body called Constitution Committee made up of 28 people representing every area of the New Hebrides at the time including political parties, custom movements, New Hebrides Council of Churches. It was completed within approximately five to six months from April to September. “We in Vanuatu as a former colony of England and France, we had to have a Constitution. “Even though we were ruled by England and France, we were not entitled to be referred to as British nationals or French nationals. The Fijians before their independence, were entitled to be referred to as British nationals. The Kanaks in New Caledonia are also French nationals. “But as for us, we were stateless. The biggest issue to be discussed by leaders at the time was our statelessness. The other issue focused on land. Most of our land was alienated through plantation ownership (by colonial plantation owners). “That is why Chapter 12 of the Constitution states that every ground in Vanuatu belongs to the custom landowner of Vanuatu. This provision makes our Constitution stand alone compared to all other constitutions of our Pacific neighbour countries. A constitution is important to direct a country how to develop.” Mr. Kelekele who helped to draft the Constitution said the imminent referendum on May 29 is going to be the first one ever. The first ‘toktok’ after the Preamble of the Constitution says, “Republic of Vanuatu is a sovereign democratic state…”. USP Law Lecture Mrs. Temakon explained what sovereignty means. When we say supreme law, we mean it is above every other law. If a queen or king is sovereign, it means they are above every other person. This law gives is the power to settle down, to make sure we do not ask foreigners to show us the way, to lead us. Asked to explain the meaning of democratic state, the CEO of TIV, Dr Tokon said, “We welcome copies of the Constitution in Bislama because we take copies with us to distribute to communities in rural, isolated communities throughout the country. TIV looks at Vanuatu’s Constitution as the National Road for the public to follow. Democracy comes in to help us to decide how to follow this road. All this is made possible through our votes. When the majority votes ‘yes’ then we swing in that direction to follow that democratic path. In TIV’s press releases carried by the Vanuatu Daily Post on Saturday, TIV refers to ‘democratic rule’ and ‘common sense’. There is no common sense stated in the Constitution but so often, people do not follow the law. TIV welcomes this opportunity to look again at the Constitution to make the relevant changes in line with majority voice. “One of our messages to the communities is good governance. Vanuatu’s Constitution should also stress good governance to follow this good road to assist the Government to make sure that the services it provides benefit everybody and not leaving anyone behind,” TIV stated. “This is also in line with our National Sustainable Development Plan. In addition, we also stress our rights and responsibilities as stated in the Constitution. “Our vote is also important. It is our right and our duty to vote. We call on eligible voter to vote. In our trips, we show the people the Constitution and they ask for more copies of our Constitution as they say they have never seen one before. We spend a read more…

  • Over 100 TB cases in 2023

    A total of 101 Tuberculosis (TB) cases have been recorded in Vanuatu last year, according to the Ministry of Health (MOH). The Ministry also conveyed that the TB Unit of the Department of Public Health has detected a patient with Rifampicin-Resistant TB (RR-TB) last month in Port Vila who is undertaking treatment. RR-TB has been an area of growing concern to human health worldwide. People are urged to visit their nearest health facilities if they experience symptoms of TB. Symptoms include coughing up blood, feeling weak or very tired, unexplained weight loss, chest pain, fever, sweating at night and chills. In a statement to announce the 2023 cases, the MOH explained that treating takes longer than other bacterial infections and is expensive and toxic with multiple drugs. Therefore, compliance to treatment is critical for cure of patents. A person who has contracted TB in their lungs or throat can spread it through droplets that are in the air, often through coughing, or sneezing. The ministry explained that the disease can be prevented through various means, such as covering the mouth and nose when sneezing and completing the 6 months of treatment. For patients to overcome the disease, they need to have health diets and food high in protein and amino acids that help fight off infections. They need to reduce lifestyles that can contribute to weakening the body’s immune system and improve their houses for better ventilation. Parents must ensure that babies are vaccinated against TB shortly after birth. In its statement, the MOH assured it is intensifying efforts to combat TB and address the new challenge of multi-drug-resistant TB in Vanuatu. The ministry said it is collaborating with partners such as the World Health Organisation and the United Nations Development Program to support its efforts in screening and treating cases of TB and MDR-TB. Together with the SHEFA Health Office, they will be conducting community screening and will strengthen a rapid response team to promptly address the new cases. They will also provide refresher training for health workers on the management of TB and reducing stigma and support for patients. They are encouraging early screening to quickly identify cases and ensure patients receive treatment. A provincial MDR/TB Task Force will be established to ensure effective implementation of the activities. ______________________________________________________________________ SOURCE: VANUATU DAILY POST

  • Electoral Commission prepares for referendum with new Regulation Order

    The Referendum Act, CAP 297 of 2006, has never been implemented since its development. In 2023, Parliament introduced proposed amendments to the Constitution, including Article 17 and the insertion of Articles 17A and 17B, requiring a national referendum as per Article 86 of the Constitution. According to the article 86 of the Constitution, a national referendum is required if a constitutional amendment is passed by the Parliament on the status of Bislama, English and French, the electoral system, or the parliamentary system. According to the Chairman of the Electoral Commission, Edward Kaltamat, the electoral system is affected in this case. However, the existing Referendum Act lacks specific regulations to guide the conduct of such a vote. Therefore, the Vanuatu Electoral Office (VEO), along with the Electoral Commission and the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) has collaborated to draft a Regulation Order. The Regulation Order, still in its draft stage, addresses various important aspects of the referendum process, the Chairman explained. These include voter registration procedures, the duration of the campaign period, vote counting procedures, result verification, and declaration protocols. Additionally, the Regulation Order outlines the criteria and eligibility for referendum observers and establishes the process for counting votes based on a simple majority. Chairman Kaltamat elaborated on another significant aspect covered by the Regulation Order: the handling of void votes. In the case of regular elections, torn ballot papers with candidate photos are considered void. However, for the referendum, only two ballot papers will be used: green for “yes” votes and red for “no” votes. The Regulation Order specifies guidelines for validating and voiding such votes. There are also provisions made in exceptional cases for individuals unable to vote at their designated polling station on referendum polling day. Chairman Kaltamat illustrated this with an example of someone from Tanna unable to return due to accompanying a sick relative to Vila. In such cases, the Regulation Order allows these individuals to vote elsewhere in Port Vila, ensuring their voting rights are upheld. He explained that this particular person from Tanna must be a registered voter and electoral officers would be able to confirm this information by scanning his ID card. However, these exceptional provisions will only apply in rare circumstances to prevent eligible citizens from being deprived of their voting rights. As the Regulation Order undergoes final drafting by the OAG, the Electoral Commission awaits its official approval to guide the referendum process effectively. ______________________________________________________________________ SOURCE: VANUATU DAILY POST

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