Jessica Philimon – New Skies Ahead

By Winy Marango + Gina Dehinavanua

care-in-vanuatu

Left to Right: Andriana Tari, Jessica Philimon, Rachel Lume and CARE Vanuatu’s Country Director Megan Chisholm, during the Pacific Girl Regional Meeting in Suva, Fiji © Yoshiko/ RMI

PROGRAM OVERVIEW

CARE International’s Young Women’s Leadership Program is working with a diverse group of young women in Port Vila and Tafea Province to build their leadership skills to become advocates for gender equality and ending violence against women and girls. Partnered with experienced women leaders as mentors, these girls have embarked on a 12 month journey to pursue their leadership goals.

Never ending possibilities

Filling in the Young Women’s Leadership Program application form was a gamble for 16-year-old Jessica Philimon. “I thought, ‘It’s just another form’,” remembers Jessica. “I didn’t want to get my hopes up about it so when the CARE team called me to attend the first workshop I was shocked, but super happy I was successful.”

Originally from Tanna, Jessica enjoys city life in the heart of Port Vila living with her parents, two brothers and elder sister. “My dad has done all sorts of jobs from construction to now being a debt collector,” says Jessica. Although times have sometimes been tough for her family, they have been able to stay in the same house her whole life.

However, those tough times have meant Jessica had to leave school in 2017 after only completing Year 8. Now she spends most of her time at home helping her mother with the household chores. Reflecting on her school days, Jessica remembers being quiet and shy. “At school, I was bit shy but I always made friends easily,” says Jessica.

Though she had to cut her education short, Jessica has continued to look for opportunities to learn and grow. In 2016, she took a school holiday job for two weeks as an enumerator at the Vanuatu Electoral Office in Port Vila, and there made connections with a colleague who kept in touch. At the end of 2017, that former colleague encouraged her to apply for the Young Women’s Leaderhsip program.

The program has helped Jessica to refine her leadership goals and have a clearer idea of where she wants to go. She is also inspired to encourage other young women too. “I want to become a nurse or to work with children in my community to build their leadership skills and tell them about their value, responsibilities and rights,” says Jessica. ”I feel so much more confident now to talk with my peers, especially the girls, and encourage them to dream big and put their goals into action.”.

In May 2018, Jessica and four other young women involved in CARE Vanuatu’s programs were given the opportunity to travel to Fiji for a regional meeting to develop a plan for funding inititiaves in the Pacific to support the empowerment of adolescent girls. This group of inspiring girls was selected based on their confidence and ability to represent the voice of Ni-Vanuatu girls and speak up about issues affecting adolescent girls in Vanuatu. Accompanied by two CARE staff on their first overseas trip, the five girls had the opportunity to meet other young girls in the Pacific and to share challenges and hopes that girls in the Pacific share.

“It was my first time to ever travel abroad and I know the outcome of the meeting will help meet the needs of adolescent girls like myself and other young girls in my community,” Jessica says. “I was able to give presentations at the Regional Meeting because of the workshop on facilitation skills that I attended earlier this year with the Young Women’s Leadership Program.”

Thinking back to how shy she was at school, Jessica could never have imagined that she would be giving a presentation at such an important regional meeting. But learning to step up and grab hold of new opportunities has taken her a long way. “If there’s ever a chance for me to reach out to young girls who have had to leave school, I would encourage them to take part in this program as it gave me new hope for a better, brighter future for tomorrow,” says Jessica.

Now, Jessica is confident that there are exciting opportunities on the horizon. “After attending the Young Women’s Leadership Program held by CARE Vanuatu, I feel that now I have a bright future ahead of me and set goals in mind,” Jessica smiles.


Follow CARE INTERNATIONAL on Facebook

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Follow Sista

Port Vila
24°
Mostly Cloudy
SatSunMon
28/24°C
29/24°C
29/24°C

NEWS

  • Court Briefs – 28 Jan 2022

    58-year-old entrepreneur jailed for rape Lisong Kallan Malsaye pleaded guilty to one charge of sexual intercourse without consent. The maximum sentence is life imprisonment. The sentence starting point is 6 years’ imprisonment. The mitigating factors are as follows: pleaded guilty at the first opportunity, has acknowledged his wrong-doing, has no previous convictions, 58 years old, married with three children, he is an entrepreneur, having recently completed 7 bungalows for his guesthouse business. He is regarded as a leader within his community including being part of an anti-corruption group appointed by the Police. Taking all of these matters into account, the end sentence that is imposed is 4 years and 8 months’ imprisonment. 11-year jail term for man who raped 19-year-old Simon Pakoa Willie pleaded guilty to sexual intercourse without consent and intentional assault. The maximum sentence for sexual intercourse without consent is life imprisonment, and intentional assault is 5 years’ imprisonment. The sentence starting point is 14 years’ imprisonment, taking both offences into account concurrently. The mitigating factors are as follows: 26 years old, in a de facto relationship, and with 2 young children, works in a construction company, has no previous convictions, indicates an acceptance of his wrong-doing and for the prompt guilty pleas. The end sentence imposed on the sexual intercourse without consent is 9 years 10 months’ imprisonment, as well 1 year and 6 months’ imprisonment for the intentional assault charge. Jail term for Bus driver who raped family member John Huri was charged with one count of sexual intercourse without consent (count 1). Sexual intercourse without consent is punishable by a maximum sentence of life imprisonment. However, the starting point of this sentence is 8 years’ imprisonment. The mitigating factors are as follows: pleaded guilty, no pre-sentence report was filed, 32 years old, the breadwinner in his family, earns his income by driving his own service bus, lives in a de-facto relationship and has a baby daughter. The end sentence is rounded off to 4 years’ imprisonment, effective from 19 October 2021 when the Defendant was remanded into custody. Man guilty of making false declaration over possession of cannabis Ben Nicholas pleaded guilty to one charge each of making false declaration to Customs and possession of cannabis. The maximum sentence for false declaration to Customs is 6 months’ imprisonment or a fine not exceeding VT5 million, or both. The maximum sentence for possession of cannabis is 20 years’ imprisonment or a fine not exceeding VT100 million, or both. The mitigating factors are as follows: pleaded guilty at the first opportunity, 22 years old, has no previous convictions, currently responsible to provide care and support to his ill father and his younger brother who is a person with disabilities. He does so by selling copra and cocoa. Additionally, the Defendant has a 2-year-old daughter and a de facto partner. He wishes to pursue further studies at the Maritime College so that he can become a Captain one day, like his father. Taking the above matters into account, the end sentence that the Court imposed on Nicholas, pursuant to section 56 of the Penal Code is to order the Defendant to come up again before the Court for sentence if called upon within a period of 12 months. Accordingly, there is no sentence imposed for the offences at this stage – and if Nicholas does not reoffend in any way in the next 12 months, he will not be sentenced for this offending. However, if Nicholas does re-offend in any manner, he will be called up to be sentenced for these offences – as well as any other sentence he may receive. 150 hours of community work for unlawful entry Ali Peter pleaded guilty to one count of unlawful entry of a dwelling house and one count of theft. The maximum sentence available for unlawful entry of a dwelling house used for human habitation is 20 years’ imprisonment. For theft, the maximum sentence is 12 years’ imprisonment. Therefore, an overall starting point of sentence at 3 years’ imprisonment. The mitigating factors are as follows: pleaded guilty, no Pre-Sentence Report was filed as directed, young offender and has spent roughly 35 days in custody. He was ready to do custom reconciliation. The end sentence is 1-year imprisonment on the lead offence. For theft, the defendant is sentenced to 4 months’ imprisonment to be served concurrently. In addition, the sentence will be suspended for a period of 2 years and the Defendant will perform 150 hours of community work. SOURCE: VANUATU DAILY POST

  • Behavior Change Communication Program for youth

    A program for young people, Behavior Change Communication ((BBC), is being rolled out in Vanuatu by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), in partnership with the Ministry of Youth and Sports Development (MoYSD) and the Vanuatu National Youth Council (VNYC). BBC is the strategic use of communication to promote positive health outcomes that involves individuals, communities and societies to promote positive communication behaviors mostly on pressing health problems particular on Sexual Reproductive Health (SRH), based on proven theories and models of behaviour change. It is an interactive process of an intervention with individuals, communities and societies to promote positive behaviours particular to their setting. This helps to create enabling environments that support and sustain desired behaviour change. VNCY’s Principal Administrator, Joe Kalo, said VNCY want young people to to demonstrate that knowledge of BCC strategy in Vanuatu and to become BCC influencers in their community, area council or province. “This program will help them develop their communication and advocacy skills to respond to related Sexual Reproductive Health (SRH) determinants or any other social development issue within their respective areas,” he said. He said the BBC rollout in Vanuatu with young people will surely create an impact once it ends. “We have started building capacities of young people from our BCC program rollout for TAFEA and TORBA, which tells us that more young people will likely engaged in the coming months if we are rolling out the program to other provinces. We have high hope that positive impact is on the way,” he said. The BBC program will also engage young people from communities with the knowledge capacity of providing SRH information along with respective provincial data in order to identify the demanding youth SRH needs that should be addressed. VNYC team will commence a nationwide online and face to face outreach survey questionnaires for SRH next week. Meanwhile, the BCC program has already commenced in November last year for TORBA and TAFEA provinces and will expand to other provinces this year. VNYC acknowledges the continuous financial support provided by UNFPA through the MoYSD to support youth health in Vanuatu and for technical assistance been provided by ABC ID, Ministry of Health and other health partners. SOURCE: VANUATU DAILY POST

  • Man sentenced for sexually assaulting stepdaughter

    53-year-old John Nikahi has been sentenced to 7 years and 4 months’ imprisonment, after being found guilty for having sexual intercourse with his stepdaughter. This was the second time that the minor was abused by her step-father. Nikahi was previously convicted of unlawful sexual intercourse with his then 9-year-old step-daughter and sentenced to 5 years and 4 months imprisonment. He was released on parole, which continued until December 2017. The recent offending occurred only some 15 months later. The repeated offence happened in 2019 when he forcefully had sexual intercourse with her several times. He told his stepdaughter not to tell her mother. At that time, Nikahi was 51 years old and his stepdaughter was 19. The matters came to light following a dispute between Mr. Nikahi and his wife, which involved assault, leading to the police becoming ` involved. Sexual intercourse without consent has a maximum sentence of life imprisonment. Nikahi was given a sentence starting point of 8 years’ imprisonment. Aggravating factors considered were as follows: Gross breach of trust, completely undermining the relation of stepfather and stepdaughter, instruction the victim not to report the matter to her mother, pre-meditation involved, repeated nature of offending, offending occurred at Joana’s home where she should be able to feel safe, lack of protection used exposing the victim to sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancy and effects of the offending on the victim as this was the second time. His sentence was reduced by 2 months due personal circumstances. He was given a sentence uplift of 6 months imprisonment due to the repeat nature of offending. Nikahi is unemployed with three children. He previously worked as a security guard and has some skills in gardening. He is said to have good relations with his wider family and community. His sentence commenced from when he was incarcerated on September 2020. His sentence could not be suspended due to the seriousness of the offending and type of criminal conduct involved. He was given 14 days to appeal. SOURCE: VANUATU DAILY POST

  • Pepsi women, youth and people with special needs petition MP Ati

    Women, youth and people living with a disability at Pepsi area in Luganville have petitioned a Member of Parliament for Luganville, Marc Ati, to build a community hall for the women, improve the drainage system and provide a grant to support people with special needs. Elianeth John, presented the women’s petition to MP Athy who is also the Minister of Foreign Affairs on Wednesday this week. “We would like to present to you this morning our petition for you to build a community hall for the women at the green space at Pepsi. I’m speaking on behalf of all the women at Pepsi and Sarakata because many of these women have not been able to attend skills trainings anywhere,” she told the MP. “We see that this is a major need for many women and young people here who have dropped out of school. This community hall will help provide a venue for our women and young people to attend skills trainings in different fields so they could do something that will help improve their lives. “It will help keep our young men from criminal activities. The hall will allow us to help train these young people so they could support their families so we all can maintain a good community to change the profile of Pepsi as the leading community in Luganville Town with high crime rates.” A Youth Representative for the area, Andrew Faru, also requested MP Athy to ensure the two roads at the end of Pepsi area be tar sealed. “One road begins from where the Tanna people resides at Pepsi that leads to Tangara and the other one begins at the river at Pepsi and leads to Dark Corner,” he said. “Our second request is that we need a proper drainage system for the tar seal road so flood water during heavy rain will not damage the new tar seal road.” Faru acknowledged MP Ati for addressing the Pepsi road upgrade to tar seal. Manager of the Public Works Department (PWD) in Santo, Henry Wells, said the launching of the Pepsi road upgrade to tar seal on Wednesday, will first cover 800 meters of the road. The Department will then focus on upgrading the drainage system. Chairman of the People Living with a Disability Association at Pepsi, Sarakata and Solway Area, Allan, also requested MP Ati to negotiate for the tar seal of the road at Pepsi Four to the Solway Area. He said more than 80 people living with disability are residing at Pepsi, Solway and Sarakata areas in Luganville. Allan said many of these people with special needs are residing at the end of the roads at Pepsi up in the bush and needed accessible roads. “Our disable people have the same right as everyone else to use a better road,” he said. He also petitioned Ati for a grant to support the activities for people with disability at Pepsi Area. PWD Director, Malcolm Tarileo, said the Department has an inclusive policy, which includes every person, to ensure no one is left behind. SOURCE: VANUATU DAILY POST

  • 9-YEAR JAIL TERM FOR RAPIST

    A 26-year-old man who tricked a young girl and threatened her for sex with a knife on the night of Independence Day last year, has been given 9 years and 10 months’ imprisonment. The young man used the girl’s boyfriend phone and rang her while she was celebrating with some friends. He told her his boyfriend has passed out from drinking too much alcohol and instructed her to meet at two different locations. She promptly left where she was and went to meet them. She went to the first location but could not find them. She then went to the next location as instructed. While she was searching at the area, the man approached and took her into a yard, which he claimed was his and forcefully performed sexual acts on her. He used a knife to make her submit to his sexual demands, threatened her to be quiet and to do as he asked. He admitted slapping her face causing temporary injuries. He also instructed her not to report the assault to the police. According to the verdict, a subsequent medical examination confirmed abrasions and bruises on the girl’s knees, her back, her neck was swollen and bruised, and there were additional internal abrasions. The young man pleaded guilty to sexual intercourse without consent and intentional assault in court. The maximum sentence for sexual intercourse without consent is life imprisonment and for intentional assault is 5 years’ imprisonment. There were no mitigating aspects of the offending. Some of the many aggravating factors include deception, threatening, repeated instruction not to make any sound and report the matter to police, use of knife to reinforce threats, repeated violence, physical injuries inflicted, taking away the victim’s virginity and lack of protection used, exposing the victim to sexually transmitted disease and unwanted pregnancy. Having considered the aggravating factors, Supreme court Judge Gustaaf Andrée Wiltens gave the young man a sentence starting point of 14 years’ imprisonment. His sentence was later reduced due to his prompt guilty pleas and personal factors, such as being in a de facto relationship with two young children. He has no previous convictions. Judge Wiltens stated in the verdict that the offending was callous, cruel and barbaric thus, a condign sentence is required to hold the defendant accountable. He said the sentence cannot be suspended due to the seriousness of the offending and type of criminal conduct involved. The defendant’s sentence commenced on August 1, 2021, when he was incarcerated. SOURCE: VANUATU DAILY POST

Join Us

Archives