The Catholic Women’s Group, Auki, Malaita: A Catalyst for Change

Josephine Barnes

In 1964 I went as a volunteer to teach at the isolated Catholic mission station of Rokera in Malaita, in the then British Protectorate, now independent nation of Solomon Islands. In those days, staff had to speak English to the students and had minimal involvement with local people. As a woman I could not move about alone and was mainly confined to the mission stations. After three years I went back to Australia to train as a nurse, intending to return to the Solomons. I could not then see any value in teaching, as most subjects seemed far removed from the reality of people’s lives. It was probably my youth that blinded me to the benefits of education, since pupils from this school later obtained responsible jobs. Nursing, on the other hand, showed immediate results. In 1986, after cyclone Namu, I returned to do relief work in Avu Avu on the weather (east) coast of Guadalcanal. Many changes had occurred. I was greeted warmly and each day the women would talk or ‘story’ with me about their concerns for their children and their own health. The time seemed ripe for health education. In 1996 Patricia Wale, the coordinator of the Catholic Women’s Program inAuki diocese, Malaita, invited me back to work as an adult educator.

Research Type(s)
UN/IGO Document
Submitted by Toksave
March 21, 2021
Published in
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