Papua New Guineans Len Awinup and Lydia Lisa Dimokari are creating change through two initiatives that could level up the field for young people around the country.
Len Awinup loves both technology and storytelling, and is as likely to be working behind a computer as writing poetry. But that’s no surprise given his upbringing.
‘My parents were educators, so given my passion for writing, I believe that increasing adult literacy can impact a lot of lives in a positive way.’
In 2014, while studying computer science at the PNG University of Technology, Awinup joined TVI’s three-year Leadership Development Program. ‘I completed all three years – Dreamer, Active Citizen and Nation Builder. Through the program I met great people and heard about the Archer Scholarship offered by the Kokoda Track Foundation, which seemed like a good next step.’
To apply for the scholarship he had to write a community project proposal, and so he naturally turned to his passion. ‘The ‘Writers Unblock Initiative’ aims to get more young PNG people into reading and writing. Young people can make big changes in their communities and countries, but first they need to make changes in themselves.’
‘I would like to create change in my country through being the change myself, learning and pushing myself to develop in skills and education.’
On the strength of his proposal, Awinup was granted the scholarship in 2017 and travelled to Australia for work experience, mentorship and leadership sessions. Last year, he was accepted into the Graduate Development Program with Westpac Bank PNG, and he now has a permanent position in the technology department.
So, what’s next? ‘I want to get funding for the Writers Unblock Initiative, and I might do a masters degree soon, and more writing, maybe even professionally. Only time will tell.’
It’s a long way from Alotau in Milne Bay Province to the streets of New York, but that is exactly the journey Lydia Lisa Dimokari took in January 2018 as a representative for Papua New Guinea at the United Nations Economic and Social Council Youth Forum.
‘One key thing I learnt from the conference was that young people have the potential to create change. Other people attending the conference were creating apps, building businesses, and using science and technology to create change in their communities. I realised that young people have energy, strength and ideas for the world, and their communities, to flourish.’
Dimokari has worked as a program officer at TVI, and volunteers with Equal Playing Field, an NGO that uses sport to promote gender equality and end violence against women in Papua New Guinea. ‘I would like to create change in my country through being the change myself, learning and pushing myself to develop in skills and education.’
Gearing up to attend an exciting program overseas and start a new job, she is also currently working to launch a new community project in Port Moresby’s Gerehu.
‘I have taken a step back to self-reflect and move forward. I think that it is really important to know who you are and why you are doing something, and really asking yourself if an action will lead to better development outcomes for your community, province or nation. What does change look like and what are you going do about it?’
Read the first part of this series here.
The story ‘Young Guns’ was first published in the March-April 2020 edition of Paradise, the in-flight magazine of Air Niugini. Republished with permission.
The post Papua New Guinean Young Guns [Part 2] appeared first on Business Advantage PNG.
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