In August we are celebrating the founder and Executive Director of Melanesian Women Today, Mere Tari Sovick! 

Mere’s warm and genuine personality contributes to the amazing milestones she has achieved so far! She hails from the island of Pentecost but now lives in the United States of America with her husband and four children.  

Being the first Ni-Vanuatu women to earn a doctorate in the United States of America, Mere shows us that with the right support and mindset, you can achieve anything you put your heart into. 

Quite often she reminds herself about the importance of understanding why a person speaks, acts, and feels the way they do. She believes that once everyone learns to understand this aspect, then people will know how to work with each other better. 

 “Learning about yourself as you grow and understanding what that means for you in every stage of your life is important.” – Mere Tari Sovick 

#SistaGatStyle #WomanPentecost #Mother #Smart #Beautiful #Kind #Passionate #Empowering #MelanesianWomenToday 

Name

Mere Tari Sovick 

Where are you from? Tell us about your family. 

My father is from North Pentecost so traditionally, I am from the village of Atumsile on the Island of Pentecost. My mother is also from Pentecost, but she is from the village of Lavatu – this is where I grew up.
 

I am married to an American man who comes from the coldest place in the United States, Minnesota. We have four children, our oldest is 23 years old and our youngest is 9 years old. 

I have 7 siblings, there are 3 boys and 4 girls. My older brother lives in Australia and one of my sisters lives there as well. The rest of my siblings live here in Vanuatu, so I have nieces and nephews here. 

What do you like to do in your spare time?  Any hobbies?  

In my spare time, I do a lot of reading and I like to watch movies, especially foreign movies. A few of my hobbies include exercising, like running, walking, and a little hiking.  

 

What do you study? Do you work? 

Besides being the founder and Executive Director of Melanesian Women Today, I am a researcher and I also have a consultancy business where I interact with a lot of different women. 


What do you aspire to do in the future?  

For me, it’s not about aspiring to do something, it’s more about focusing and working on the different stages I come across in life. Life happens in different stages, and I want to be as involved in mine as possible with my grown children, while my youngest is still at home. 

And so, learning about yourself as you grow and understanding what that means for you in every stage of your life is important. As a mother, I am learning so much about how to be a better parent especially with my eldest child.  

What is a quote that you live by?  

I don’t have a particular quote I live by, but quite often I will remind myself about the importance of understanding why a person speaks, acts and feels the way they do. Once you understand this, you’ll know how to work with people better. 

 

So, I truly think that learning to listen, learning to understand where people are coming from is important especially when you work with different people in different spaces as it’s also an opportunity for you to understand how they process and learn things.  

 

How would you describe your style?  

I love wearing layers! If I’m wearing jeans and a t-shirt, I’ll layer it with a comfy cardigan and other accessories to complete the style I’m going for. I wear a lot of black, but I like my pops of colour like mustard orange, green and maroon. 

Why do you like fashion? 

I like fashion because it allows women to bring out their creative side and it gives us a sense of who we are. I think I associate a lot of my fashion choices and style with my love for interior design. 

What beauty products do you use (including perfume)?  

I don’t really wear make-up. I’ll put on a little concealer if I need to and some eyeliner and eyebrow gel, and that’s about it. But my favourite product that I use religiously is a powdered perfume, I bring it with me everywhere I go! 

Any fashion tips?  

Wear things that you feel comfortable in and that doesn’t make you overthink. I think natural beauty is beautiful! Keep it simple and clean, nothing too fancy unless, of course, you feel like it. 

What’s the most difficult thing you’ve had to face?  

Achieving my Doctorate (PhD).  

There is only 1% of the world population that have Doctorates and that statistic speaks volumes. Completing my doctorate wasn’t easy, it was very time consuming and honestly took a lot of mental strength and perseverance. When I was studying my Doctorate, I was also pregnant with my youngest child and so there was added pressure – I had to juggle parenting three children with one on the way, ensure I was up to date with all my course work while also supporting my parents from afar with their business. It was such a stressful time for me, and I believe the most difficult thing I have had to face. 

What does being a Ni-Vanuatu mean to you? 

Being a Ni-Vanuatu to me means, adapting to the changes that come but staying true to where we come from.  

I love the fact that I can be a Christian but also a woman from Pentecost who honours and treasures her culture and customary traditions. Today everyone has a surname, and this was introduced to us by the missionaries that came in. However, in the past on Pentecost, they would give you a name according to your responsibilities and they wouldn’t go by your surname. So, I am blessed to have both my Christian and my custom names. 

What is your greatest accomplishment? 

My family is the greatest investment and achievement I’ve accomplished so far. 

I believe I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for the scholarship I received many years ago. Thinking back to when I was growing up, not a lot of girls and women were given the opportunity to further their education. So, being one out of three Ni-Vanuatu girls to receive a scholarship was a dream come true! But it was also a reminder that I needed to set the bar not only for me but for the many more young girls and woman to follow. 

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Photographer: Navara Nomads
Nails: Rosy Spa
Assistants: Elsie, Sharon & Josepheen
Location: Saralana Park, Port Vila 

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This article was originally published in the August,2023 edition of the Vanuatu Daily Post’s Life and Style magazine.

We are proud partners with VDP and Sista’s time to implement this project which is covered by CARE Vanuatu.