Four years ago Carole, originally from Manus and a Unitech Computer Science graduate, entered a blogging competition that focused on agriculture and information and communication technology (ICT) stories.
As one of three encouragement award winners, she was flown to Kenya, Africa, to attend a social media training and she found her interests shifting.
‘I had spent 10 years working with computer hardware, but I realised how powerful blogging and social media were becoming. I became passionate about upskilling and empowering women and children to use ICT to improve their lives,’ she says.
A single parent of three children, two girls and a boy, Cholai developed ‘Girls in ICT Tech Week’ in 2015, where 20 secondary school girls gained ICT skills and knowledge. The program continues to run annually, and over 60 girls have already participated.
The work inspired her to begin her own blog, sharing ICT jobs, scholarships, events and opportunities from across the region.
‘There is a lot more access to the internet now through mobile phones, so I hope PNG ICT Meri can grow beyond just being a blog into a full website and brand, inspiring PNG girls to take up jobs in ICT,’ she says.
Funding the extraordinary in the ordinary
Scott Waide is a journalist and blogger based in Lae.
In 2017, he celebrated 20 years working in TV, and today he is the highly respected Lae bureau chief for EMTV. It was also in 2017 that he decided to start his blog, Inspirational Papua New Guineans.
‘Working in news you focus a lot on negative stories about politics and corruption, and I wanted to put positive stories out there. I wanted to highlight the ordinary people who are heroes in their communities,’ he says.
With 10,000 views a month, Waide says his readership is split between Papua New Guineans and foreigners, mostly from the US, Australia and the UK.
Even though it is still a hobby for now, with over 6000 Facebook followers, he says the blog has taken on a life of its own.
‘I get sent suggestions of who to profile next all the time. There is a demand for optimistic stories, and as internet coverage grows across the country so will the number of PNG content creators,’ he says.