Pandemic Warriors Series
Australian Broadcasting Corporation
In Pandemic Warriors, our series produced for the ABC, we explore how people across Asia and the Pacific have turned the COVID crisis into an opportunity to improve life for their communities, often in surprising ways. To produce the stories we met the most amazing people from Timor Leste to Vietnam, Papua New Guinea, Indonesia. We also spoke to their Australian collaborators.
Against the odds, Nevio Sarmento and his team of medical professionals raced to set-up Timor Leste’s first COVID-19 testing facility with the help of Australia’s Menzies School of Health Research.
With the world’s eyes on COVID, the Sea Women of Melanesia, an all women dive team have been working to protect one of the world most important coral ecosystems with support from the Australia-based Coral Sea Foundation.
As COVID shuts schools in Indonesia, an innovative volunteer programme gets student teachers supporting rural kids to learn at home, sparking a long-term change to the university curriculum for primary school teachers.
In Vanuatu, one way to help revitalize a COVID decimated tourism industry is through local food. Votausi Reur-Mckenzie, the ´Queen of Ni-Van cuisine´and National Agritourism Coordinator, is showing how it’s done.
With COVID threatening global supply chains, we follow the determined Kaleko SteiFree team, lead by Mary Ramosaea, as they continue to produce and distribute the Solomon Islands’ only reusable sanitary product.
Contracting tuberculosis has helped Dr Thu Anh Nguyen better understand her own work, leading TB research in Vietnam. Now she is advocating to end the disease with the same proactive response taken for COVID-19.
Sidalia Rego has dedicated her life to defending women’s rights. As COVID-19 spread, she helped set-up Timor Leste’s first sisterhood of support so that the feminist movement can thrive even in the toughest of times.
When the seas swallowed her grandparents’ home, Gladys Habu from the Solomon Islands, was compelled to become a climate advocate calling for the world to declare the ongoing climate crisis a climate emergency. Teaming up with Australian researcher Simon Albert, she took her call onto the world stage.
Follow two young Samoans and their Australian mentor as they prepare and deliver a show that entertains but also deeply affects its audience as the science of climate change is revealed.
Having started her career as a nurse in Fiji’s most remote places, Sister Selina knows what it’s like to be the only nurse on the frontline. When COVID hit, she was instrumental setting-up a radio show for remote nurses.
Two social entrepreneurs from Australia and Cambodia are using innovative technology to tackle smoke pollution as well as climate change as COVID-19 presents unexpected obstacles and opportunities.
As PNG’s women’s team prepares for the Rugby League World Cup, we meet the female pioneers and players who are inspiring women and girls to participate in the country’s most loved game.
In Cambodia, COVID lockdowns triggered memories of a brutal past for many Khmer Rouge survivors. People lost loved ones and livelihoods to COVID, but the trauma also reopened psychological wounds. Dr Soetheara Chhim and the Transcultural Psychosocial Organization run Cambodia’s only suicide support hotline, which has seen a dramatic spike in calls for help during the pandemic. Go behind the scenes to see the team’s important work providing counselling to Cambodians in need.
A trafficked mum and baby pangolin are released back into the wild as humanity grapples with the health dangers of the growing illegal wildlife trade. Thai Van Nguyen and Leanne Wicker are fighting to stop the trade.
Sophapone Heuanglith is the face of sign language in Laos, shooting to fame when she hit back at criticism about her signing during COVID updates. Her stand is changing perceptions of people with hearing impairment.
With 500 people leaving Nepal daily, social entrepreneur Bina Shrestha is determined to create local opportunities, one eco-friendly brick at a time. COVID slowed her down but with Australian backing she is not giving up.
High in the mountains of Timor Leste, meet the first community in the Asia-Pacific region to successfully trade on the international carbon market. They are thriving, thanks to a chance friendship and a wife’s undying love.
The climate crisis has changed the game for people living in rural Solomon Island communities. Disaster survivor, Ricky Panna, uses his experience to help them prepare, as COVID creates new challenges.
We go behind the scenes at PNG’s growing ambulance service as the ‘Green Angels’ respond to all kinds of emergencies, including the second wave of COVID.
More people than ever call informal settlements across Asia and the Pacific home. Most lack access to services like water and sanitation. We meet a team of Indonesian and Australian innovators testing ways to change this.
Fijian counsellor, Renuka Karan, says COVID increased demand for mental health services. She had to use all her skills to get through a 21-day lockdown at the hospital where she works at the height of Fiji’s pandemic.
We meet the head of Tonga’s national broadcaster and learn how she and her team kept life-saving information going out on the airwaves as Tonga faced a devastating triple disaster.