The Herald and World Vision want to raise $100,000 for the urgent water and sanitation needs in the Hanuabada village of Port Moresby, and World Vision wants your long-term support for ongoing work in the Pacific. Each day we'll be reporting on a particular problem for the region and showcasing how World Vision has helped. Today, escape through sport.

We met 17-year old Konio Toua on the rickety boardwalks of Hanuabada village on her way to train at the village's gym.

She's recognised by our small local entourage and they immediately pointed her out to us as the younger sister of Dika Toua the weightlifting gold medallist from the 2014 Commonwealth games.

The Toua sisters are a big deal in the sport-obsessed village of Hanuabada. Nicknamed the "Golden Village" for the success of the local weightlifters, Hanuabada - estimated population of just 20,000 - has produced incredible amounts of success. And young Konio is already among the medals.

In 2012, she won a bronze in the 53kg junior category at the annual PNG Games. In 2013, she was selected to compete in Puyong, Malaysia, in the 53kg Junior Championships and placed 5th overall.


Her second PNG Games in 2014 was a breakthrough when she won three gold medals.

Their success has made the Toua sisters important role models for the younger generation of Hanuabada, especially young women.

Life in Hanuabada can be challenging for young people with few job opportunities, and young women often marry early for security, according to Konio.

Konio Toua at the family gym at Hanuabada during training. Photo / Supplied by World Vision
Konio Toua at the family gym at Hanuabada during training. Photo / Supplied by World Vision

"In my village, my sisters and I get a lot of respect from the community people. I get positive remarks from young girls my age who say I have inspired and given them hope to succeed and prosper," says Konio.

Her older sister Dika opened a weightlifting club in Hanuabada and the family gym has become a home for young people in the community.

Currently, there are six young women and 21 young men between the age of 15-23 year training alongside Konio at the club.

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"For young people who are determined to become someone who can make a difference in the community, the weightlifting club has encouraged them to dream big and travel places to see the world," says Konio.

Although there is a lot of celebration of Hanuabada's sporting success, the village faces significant social and environmental issues.

Waste disposal infrastructure is limited, sanitation is poor, and access to clean water unreliable.

Children in the community have become sick from the piles of rubbish, and human waste dumped straight into the ocean.

At just 17, Konio is already dedicated to using her influence to improve the safety and environment of the Golden Village.

"My village is such a beautiful village. I'm happy to continue living the dream of my family, community members and village itself to continue excelling and making everyone who live here proud of our people's' heritage and our village.

"Hopefully so people can take ownership of cleaning up the village and maintaining its image," says Konio.

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