Honiara, Solomon Islands


Photographer: Richard Wainwright

Year of Submission: 2016 (Educators Edition) 

At her school in Honiara, the capital of the Solomon Islands, Martina uses songs with simple lyrics to teach her young students how to cope with natural disasters. Using the tunes from well-known nursery rhymes, Martina, 28, and her students have written four songs so far – giving themselves instructions on what to do if they find themselves threatened by a flood, an earthquake, a tsunami or a landslide. The idea for the songs came from the Nursery Rhyme Program, run by Caritas Australia. “Nursery rhymes break down the fear associated with natural disasters, and also help children memorise the rhymes and the emergency response,” says Martina. The Solomon Islands lie in a region vulnerable to earthquakes, tsunamis and extreme weather. “We have a cyclone season that runs from November to March annually,” says Martina. “This season we’re better prepared and know how to respond. In an emergency these songs can make all the difference.”


West New Britain, Papua New Guinea


Photographer: Jürgen Freund

Year of Submission: 2016 (Educators Edition)

On the north coast of Papua New Guinea’s West New Britain province, Lorna Romaso (right) takes a group of students from a local high school snorkelling along a reef. Although the students come from nearby coastal villages, most know little about the underwater world of the sea on their doorsteps. On snorkelling and boat trips to reefs, the students find out about both the abundance of life in this environment and its fragility. Lorna’s course is run by Mahonia Na Dari, a non-governmental organisation whose name means “guardian of the sea” in the local Bakovi language. Mahonia Na Dari has been running programmes like this since 1997. Classes of up to twenty students spend their mornings in a classroom, then move to snorkelling in the sea in the afternoons. The students learn about reef biology, environmental issues, how to protect marine ecosystems and the importance of marine resource management.


Ulpanyali, Australia


Photographer: Dean Sewell

Year of Submission: 2016

Louis Clyne lives in the remote indigenous community of Ulpanyali in central Australia’s Western Desert. At 35, he is already considered an elder amongst his people. His custodial responsibilities include passing down the customs, lore and traditions of a people that have existed for more than 40,000 years. His two nephews, Johnny, 13, and Denzel, 14, have travelled 400 kilometres from Alice Springs to visit him. The two boys are approaching the age of initiation and must prove to Louis and the other male elders of Ulpanyali that they have the necessary skills and knowledge to move forward to the next stage of their lives. On an excursion to a sacred watering hole, during story-time in an ancestral cave and on a night hunt for kangaroos, Louis passes on lessons in living, surviving and dream-time to his nephews and other young people. Learning in school classrooms is available to the few children living in this part of the Western Desert. But for Louis, experiencing, understanding and preserving the customs and traditions of his people is what education is really about.