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.

Follow Sista

Port Vila
23°
Partly Cloudy
WedThuFri
27/21°C
27/21°C
26/21°C

NEWS

  • Screenings are the best prevention for Cervical cancer

    Cervical cancer has the longest precancerous stage where cancer tissue can be identified upon screening and removed, so screening is the best prevention. In Vanuatu, cervical cancer and breast cancer are the two top cancers affecting women. We have a higher rate of cervical cancer, high rates of cervical cancer are more common in low-income countries than in high income countries said Doctor Boniface Damutalau, the Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist at Vila Central Hospital (VCH). According to the latest World Health Organisation (WHO) data published in 2020 Cervical Cancer Deaths in Vanuatu reached 13 or 0.65% of total deaths. “Our data from the last years show that women in their 40s are most commonly affected and most women with cervical cancer who come for treatment are in late stages and there is nothing we can do,” said Dr Damutalau. The Doctor explained that unlike most cancers, cervical cancer is the only cancer that has a prolonged precancerous period of 10 to 15 years. It is the only cancer where premalignant cancer tissues can be identified through screenings. “Pre-cancer is still not a cancer and that is why screening is so important. If precancerous tissue is identified through screening it is easily removed if not it will develop into cancer,” said Dr Damutalau. “That is why screening awareness for women is so important, because it will detect pre-cancer tissues before it develops into cancer.” Dr Damutalau emphasized this as he stated that the healthcare system can only perform treatment through screening and removing precancerous tissues before it becomes malignant at stage 1. At stage 2 (a), there is a 50/50 percent chance that the cancer tissue removed will not come back. “Once a patient is at stage 2 (b), 3 or stage 4 they have to go abroad to receive chemotherapy or radiotherapy,” he explained. “These therapies cost about 50,000-60,000 New Zealand dollars (VT4,572,930). This amount does not cover other costs for accommodation and blood work that will be needed.” The Doctor stressed that women get screened five years after their first sexual interaction and continue to go in for screenings every 3-5 years and women aged 30-54 years should go in for Human papillomavirus. The VCH, Vanuatu Family Health Association (VFHA) and private medical practices carry out screenings. VFHA will be carrying out cancer screenings on the 23rd of September at the VCH for women who want to get screened. “Vanuatu will launch the HPV vaccinations for adolescent females who are not sexually active in 2023,” Dr Damutalau concluded. ______________________________________________________________________ SOURCE: VANUATU DAILY POST 

  • Hope for Deaf People in Vanuatu

    Two specialists from the USA and Canada, Rachel Miles and Rebekah Schumacher from SIL International, have spent the past few weeks in Port Vila working on several projects to support Ni-Vanuatu deaf people. Miles and Schumacher are experts in sign language and education for deaf students. They have been supporting the work of Angelinah Eldad Vira from the Curriculum Development Unit (CDU) of the Ministry of Education and Training (MoET) on the creation of a digital dictionary with signs gathered from adults in each province of Vanuatu. Deaf adults live in many different villages and haven’t had the opportunity to interact with each other, each has their own unique way of signing with their families and communities. The dictionary project is gathering all of the different signs into one place and it will then be a resource for organisations working with the deaf. Miles and Schumacher also spent two weeks at Pikinini Playtime working with their deaf students and special needs teachers. With seven deaf students enrolled, this is the first time a group of deaf children are being educated together, creating the perfect conditions for a full and shared sign language to develop – Vanuatu Sign Language (Storian wetem han blong Vanuatu) – as they interact and learn. As part of her PhD studies at the University of California, San Diego, Miles is documenting the sign language that is emerging at the school. The school aims to have all children and teachers learn some sign language so that the deaf students aren’t isolated, but part of the larger ‘signing’ community. The deaf students enter the school with little ability to communicate, but they quickly begin using the new sign language and then are able to learn, play and make friends. Miles and Schumacher hope to continue to support the efforts of Pikinini Playtime and the MoET with the creation of sign language books and other language development initiatives. Schumacher said, “Over the time that we spent here at Pikinini Playtime, we’ve had the great privilege of building relationships with the children through learning their signs and encouraging them to share and express themselves through their own language. One might expect that a deaf child is often left alone by his peers, but this is not the case at Pikinini Playtime. The deaf students are running around with all the rest, using signs and gestures to play together with their friends, hearing and deaf alike.” The Sign Language program at Pikinini Playtime started with one teacher and four students spending a year at the Fiji Gospel School for the Deaf (GSD). Tony Batten, the Business Manager of Pikinini Playtime said, “We will ever be indebted to the staff of GSD and the sponsors who made this program possible. Through their generosity we were able to train one teacher and start four boys on the pathway to being fluent in sign language. “Now we have teachers in each classroom able to sign with the deaf students. Our Key Teacher in Special Needs, Edikiel Haisoch, is doing an amazing job. She is almost solely responsible for this initiative and is now achieving what will be a first for Vanuatu, deaf children, despite their disability, being able to learn alongside their friends. Together we are demonstrating that we can help to overcome the challenges faced by deaf people in Vanuatu.” In summing up their time at the school Miles said, “It is so exciting to see the work at Pikinini Playtime. As the children and teachers are signing together, they are actually creating a language. This new sign language will be a gift to all the people of Vanuatu.” ______________________________________________________________________ SOURCE: VANUATU DAILY POST 

  • Police Briefs

    Two females arrested for alleged involvement in marijuana transportation Two female, aged 18 and 22, have been arrested for their alleged participation in the transportation of marijuana from south Epi to north Efate by boat last Friday. The marijuana stash was hidden in a bag of kava that came with other parcels on the boat. The two girls took the bag of kava at Emua Wharf and were traveling to Port Vila when police arrested them. Everyone must understand that it is illegal to grow, harvest, transport and consume marijuana. Anyone found cultivating or in possession of the drug can be jailed for many years or pay a heavy fine. Nowadays women are also becoming involved in the cultivation, transportation and consumption of the illegal drug. Some people are turning to weed as an alternative to make an income. People are advised to seriously consider the effects, particularly how it will affect mental health in the future. Transport owners should also be aware that they can be arrested if found transporting the drug. Say ‘No’ to Marijuana The Crime Prevention Unit in Santo and the Wan Smol Bag (WSB) Theatre are conducting a five-week program targeting youth and community leaders in 20 communities in SANMA Province. The program focusses on crime involving youth and domestic violence. It aims to give participants a chance to explore and share ideas on challenges occurring in their communities, and how to prevent crime and improve community safety. The partnership aims to reduce and prevent youth from crime and violence, helping them to be good leaders in their own communities. Disclaimer All content in the Police Briefs column is supplied on a weekly basis to the Vanuatu Daily Post by the Vanuatu Police Force’s (VPF) Media Unit. This is part of the VPF’s efforts to keep members of the public reliably informed.  ______________________________________________________________________ SOURCE: VANUATU DAILY POST 

  • Man found guilty of sexual interccourse without consent

    A man has been found guilty of sexual intercourse without consent, contrary to the Penal Code Act [CAP 135]. Sexual intercourse without consent is a very serious crime under the Act, as it carries a penalty of lifetime imprisonment. Kati Sam Katena was charged for sexual intercourse without consent in 2011, almost 11 years ago. Katena had intercourse with a woman, without her consent at Freswota area in Port Vila. According to the verdict of September 2nd, 2022 the victim is Katena’s ‘custom woman’. The accused sexually assaulted her as revenge for marrying another man instead of him. He threatened to kill her if she reports him. She feared for her life and did not report the matter immediately. Medical evidence showed the complainant was traumatized by the incident. Judge Dudley Aru of the Supreme Court rejected the accused’s bare denial of the incident and his threatening against the complainant. He declared Katena guilty as charged. _______________________________________________________________________ SOURCE: VANUATU DAILY POST 

  • Market vendor lauds Biogas benefits

    A food vendor has extolled the benefits of the biogas plant that was launched at the Port Vila City market house last week. The two biogas units are located near the coffee booth of the main market and supply methane gas to the food vendors at the coffee booth, as a trial to establish the benefits. Eva Kalterekia, who was also the first to have access to these biogas units since late July said that she had gained a lot from using this initiative. Kalterekia said since she and her co-workers started using this gas, they were able to save more money compared to when they were using the usual bottle gas which usually cost them around VT9,000 per month. The mother said it was also environmentally friendly and more natural. “The food that I cooked using this gas was much cleaner, compared to food cooked over an open fire,” she said. Kalterekia encouraged other mothers and restaurants to cook their food using biogas because it it is cheaper and beneficial. The food vendors at the coffee booth will utilise the biogas unit from this week onwards as part of the trial. An employee from the Port Vila market management team, Lionel Nasum, said that the biogas was sourced from horse manure that was brought in by the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development several months ago. He also mentioned that the waste from the biogas was in liquid form and was used on plants around the market house as a source of fertilizer. Some of the market vendors also use this in their gardens. ______________________________________________________________________ SOURCE: VANUATU DAILY POST 

Join Us

Archives