Miss Papua New Guinea, Lucy Maino, spoke these words at the celebration of the International Girl’s Day at Tubusereia Primary School near Port Moresby on October 11.
“I would like to encourage all the girls in attendance today and girls everywhere in PNG to dream of your chosen path, but remember you have to put in the work and most times, it can be hard work; but you can do it by surrounding yourselves with the right people who see your potential.
“Work hard at school, play hard in sports and do your very best in everything good that you're doing at home and in your community.”
Maino spoke of the important role of parents, guardians, families and the community to encourage girls and provide a conducive supportive environment for girls to develop and prosper.
“It's yours and our collective responsibility to equip and encourage these girls realise their dreams. After all, when girls are empowered, the family and community thrive and prosper. We need this supportive network in PNG more than ever now.”
Maino, co-captain of the PNG women’s soccer team that won gold medal at the Pacific Games in Samoa in July, said sports was one way girls could be empowered because sports teaches discipline and the ethics of hard work, whether as an individual or in a team.
“The journey to achieving both my Pacific Games gold medals (in 2015 and 2019) in women's soccer began at the age of seven.
“While I may have put in the hard work all those years, my family’s support and encouragement to continue my passion in PNG and overseas is what helped me get to represent PNG at the national and international level. If I can do it, you can do it too!
“Among us today are girls who dream one day to be a doctor, a lawyer, a business woman, a corporate leader, an Olympian, a community leader etc..
“All these are commendable but you need the help from those around you to support you to achieve your dreams.
“Next month, PNG will host the Miss Pacific Islands Regional Pageant. I am honoured to represent our country as Miss Papua New Guinea at the pageant. I need all your support to not only show the Pacific Queens our warm PNG hospitality, but also to keep the Crown here in PNG.”
The International Girl’s Day at Tubusereia was organised by Water Aid PNG.
The International Girl’s Day recognises girl’s rights issues to change social norms, attitudes and behaviour so that girls are seen and treated as equals. The day brings together girls and women as drivers of change.