Bougainville’s youth building their future

19 Jul 18

Bougainville’s young people are building sustainable livelihoods – and their country’s future.

Developing skills in cocoa production, brickmaking, literacy and financial literacy, they’re making up for lost time.

The small island, north-east of Papua New Guinea, was torn by conflict between 1988 and 1998. Up to 20,000 people were killed and the impact of is still being felt today. Many of Bougainville’s young people missed out on an education during these years.

201807 Bougainville Youth Initiative (1)
Photo credit: Cassandra Hill, Caritas Australia

Photo credit: Cassandra Hill, Caritas Australia

Twenty years later, the path to recovery depends, to a great extent, on the wellbeing of its youth, as it heads towards an independence referendum in 2019.

Caritas Australia’s Bougainville Youth Initiative was a two-year program supported by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

It focussed on developing the economic and leadership skills young people need to forge their own lives, whilst contributing to Bougainville’s future.

Lillianne and Venancius are just two of Bougainville’s youth who took part in Caritas Australia’s program. Here are their stories of how the program has empowered them to become young community leaders.