Diane was born in New Zealand of mixed Papua New Guinean and New Zealand heritage. She spent her childhood growing up in the Highlands of Papua New Guinea before moving to Australia to complete her secondary, senior and tertiary education in Photography and Business Management. In 2013, Diane returned to Papua New Guinea and established her business as a photographer based in Port Moresby. Diane considers herself to be a part of a generation of young Papua New Guinean women who are ambitious and enterprising. She is passionate about affecting positive change and encouraging other aspiring young Papua New Guinean women and businesswomen to never limit themselves and to always strive to achieve their goals. Whilst living and working in Papua New Guinea, Diane has unfortunately witnessed gender-based violence first hand. By being apart of the Meri Toksave team, Diane is doing her part to ensure information are provided to victims of gender-based violence and resolutions are made to prevent violent acts from happening in the future. Diane feels honored to be working with the Meri Toksave team and privileged to be working with young like-minded people who are passionate about affecting real change and making a difference.
Milcah Xkenjik grew up in Papua New Guinea, finished high school in China, and now is attending university in New Zealand being half way through her Honours Degree in Resource and Environmental Planning at Massey University. Milcah has volunteered in Ecuador in 2011 where she constructed toilets, refurbished classrooms, taught English, and promoted public sanitation. She is also involved with The Voice Inc. team, volunteering whenever she can. Milcah has had the privilege of being surrounded by friends that are young aspiring leaders who are becoming vehicles for change in PNG. Being a part of Meri Toksave will see that her dream of making PNG a better society to live and grow up in is achieved. Milcah is excited and ready to do her bit to ensure that violence against women, that has become a social norm, will become an issue of the past.
Samantha was born in Papua New Guinea and grew up in Goroka before coming to Australia at age three. She has significant experience in communication and administrative roles, having worked for a number of large corporate businesses and taking on roles such as Personal Assistant to the Managing Director. Samantha’s strong work ethic and leadership ability has allowed her to excel in these roles, and she thrives on being constantly challenged through her work. It is her communication, interaction and leadership skills that will make her a valuable member of the Meri Toksave team. Being part of Meri Toksave will not only enable her to do her part in taking action against gender based violence, but will also give her the opportunity to gain experience and build personal and professional relationships. She hopes to attend university next year at the Australian Catholic University to study a Bachelor of Midwifery, with the desire to one day become a midwife and use those skills to give back to the rural communities in PNG. Upon completion of the degree, Samantha sees herself returning to PNG to volunteer her time, skills and services to some of the many organisations working and specialising in antenatal care. Samantha feels honoured and privileged to work alongside like-minded young people who are making a difference to a cause close to her heart.
Myrella is studying a Bachelor of Arts/Law, majoring in International Relations and Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Queensland. Myrella has received a number of awards for her high academic performance including being awarded the Dean’s Commendation for High Achievement. Volunteering is an important part of her life as it embodies two values she holds dear: giving back to the community and youth empowerment. She is involved with UN Youth Australia where she has been a Facilitator for the past six years, notably establishing the Queensland division’s junior public speaking competition. She has also helped to facilitate a number of other UN Youth events aimed at high-school students, including Regional Road trips, Security Council competitions and the School Ambassadors Program. She is also the Event Manager at A Girl’s Essence: Leadership for Teen Girls. Myrella has coached and adjudicated debating, mentors first year law students and volunteers as a Research Officer for the UQ Responsibility to Protect Student Coalition and as Careers Officer for the UQ Justice and Law Society. In 2013, she undertook a work experience placement at her local Magistrates Court. She has participated in numerous mooting competitions and also attended a number of local, national and international Model United Nations Conferences, including the Harvard World Model United Nations Conference in 2013 where she was a Delegate on the Legal Committee. Myrella is passionate about social justice, gender equality and international law and has the desire to work in international law and human rights as a career. She is excited to be a part of the Meri Toksave family, helping to make a difference to the lives of women and families in Papua New Guinea.
Aleesha is currently studying a Masters of Development Practice at the University of Queensland, and has also completed a Bachelor of International Studies, with majors in Spanish and Peace and Conflict Studies. In 2013, she spent six months on an exchange program in Mexico. This experience challenged Aleesha step out of her comfort zone and to communicate across the language and cultural divide and helped shape her passion for culture and human rights. She has also completed a full-time internship with a Brisbane social enterprise called Bee One Third which works to re-pollinate the cityscape and educate people on the importance of sustainable agriculture, healthy living, and environmental sustainability. After undertaking a number of subjects at university based around social justice and women, Aleesha has become particularly passionate about empowering women as drivers of social change. She hopes to one day have a career in development where she wants to dedicate her time, energy and skills to working on, and improving some of the most pressing development issues around the world. She is excited to contribute to the Meri Toksave team to work towards eradicating gender-based violence in Papua New Guinea.
Lauren is currently studying her Masters degree in Development Practice (Politics of Global Development) at the University of Queensland. She has a strong passion for international development and a love of learning through travel, having spent time as a volunteer in Cambodia in 2011 at the Future Light Orphanage (FLOW) and in India in 2012 for the Educators Trust India – Inspiring Light Project. Lauren has a background in media studies and holds a Bachelor of Creative Industries from the Queensland University of Technology. She has several years’ experience working in different realms of the television and media industries, including working as Production Assistant for Alt.vfx, a Brisbane based post-production company for film and television, and as Marketing Co-ordinator for a local Casting Agency. Lauren also currently works as a research assistant at the University of Queensland’s Institute for Social Science Research. Through her role as Media and Events officer, Lauren is excited to engage her previous experience and current learning and translate it into positive practical work addressing gender based violence in Papua New Guinea with Meri Toksave.