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Lovelyn's Story
Bougainville Islands
September 2003
Age: 11 years

Imagine being born in the jungle and having to live there for nine years. Imagine not having to go to school. Sounds like fun, but is it?

Eleven year old Lovelyn lives in the village of Kieta. She has three brothers and two sisters. Her mother Martha gave birth to her in hiding when her father was on the run from Papua New Guinea defence force soldiers.

Her father used to work as a security guard for the Bougainville Copper Mine, but after the conflict, the soldiers thought he supported the rebels. So they threatened and abused him.

Lovelyn's father had no choice but to go into hiding in the jungle, taking his wife and children with him. The family lived there for nine years before returning to their village. While they were gone the rebels destroyed all their personal belongings including their house, as well as all the basic infrastructure that a village needs such as the school, roads, bridges and communication lines.

Even though Lovelyn is 11, she can't go to school because it has been destroyed. After the conflict nothing is as it used to be in her village.