40 years ago, Singapore was confronted with severe unemployment, poor infrastructure, and a housing shortage. Today, the city-state has taken its place among the newly industrializing countries in Asia.
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In Kuka village, the project worked with the women’s group to help repair a road which allows people to get to markets and services in the nearby town of Arawa. Today there is a constant flow of buses... Show More + travelling to and from the village to the market, as well as fishermen and women from surrounding hamlets with their catch. It has also made a big difference for kids going to school and people needing to get to hospital, including women giving birth.”It is empowering, when women are really involved at the very beginning of the project. Because the maintenance of the road, it came through them,” says Anastasia Waim, president of the women’s group in Kuka village.Two women from Malasang village, Celestine Tomie and her younger niece Florence Tomiets, brought local women together to develop a resource center. Today it is a site for training in leadership, financial management and computer skills, as well as social events.Celestine explains that she envisaged the resource center as a site where people could come and talk about their problems.“At present, there is a culture of silence,” says Celestine. “I believes that open discussion, in a safe space, is a critical step towards working together, men and women, to find solutions within the community, and ensuring women’s voices are heard in these conversations.”Women coming together for the good of the community in Bougainville is not new. Their involvement in helping to broker peace during the crisis is renowned –they are known as the women who “talked” for peace – and women would perform tasks that men couldn’t when mobility was constrained.Tina Dikisi describes them as ‘powerful ladies‘. They take on immense tasks every day – they look after extended families, they tend to the land, they earn income for their children. They have seen and lived through one of the worst conflicts in the South Pacific. They are determined to help each other and restore their communities - and the ideas keep coming.“We women, we’re very strong. Before the crisis men led but now we women can lead. We can do anything,” she says, “that men can do.” Show Less -