5 Jul 2017

Pacific women recognised as Queen's Young Leaders

1:48 pm on 5 July 2017

Four Pacific women have been given Queen's Young Leader awards for their work dealing with social issues in their countries.

Elizabeth Kite  receives her award from the Queen.

Elizabeth Kite receives her award from the Queen. Photo: Supplied/ Elizabeth Kite

The awards, now in their third year, celebrate exceptional people aged 18 to 29 from across the Commonwealth.

Climate change in Carteret Islands in Papua New Guinea is the focus for award recipient Johnetta Lili who is working with people losing their land to rising waters.

Papua New Guinea's Theresa Gizoria got an award for helping young mothers in tertiary education.

Another Pacific woman acknowledged for her community work was Solomon Islander Karrie Jionisi, who helps unemployed girls and single mothers to learn new skills to help them find jobs.

She said gender equality in Solomon Islands was an ongoing issue, which is what motivated her to start up a programme called Girls for Change.

In Tonga, Elizabeth Kite received an honorary award for her work on educational initiatives with youth and disabled people.

She currently teaches a braille class to students who are visually impaired.

According to Ms Kite, there was a need to change perceptions towards disabled people in Tonga.

"There is quite a demand because there are quite a few people living with visual impairment," she explained.

"Not many people did know about it [services for visually impaired] and I think a lot of it has to do with just also the taboo and just the attitude towards people with disabilities in general.

The Queen's Young Leaders awards winners at Buckingham Palace.

The Queen's Young Leaders awards winners at Buckingham Palace. Photo: Supplied/ Queen's Young Leaders

"They're kind of just disregarded as capable human beings, so they don't really see the need to educate them."

Elizabeth Kite and the other three Queen's Young Leader award recipients all spent a week in the United Kingdom for a residential programme, as part of the award.