Salomonen: Apollonia Bola Talo

Reconciliation brings peace, but in the absence of forgiveness and repentance, reconciliation and peace cannot exist.

— Apollonia Bola Talo

Apollonia Bola Talo is a grassroots activist from Guadalcanal Province, Solomon Islands. She has worked extensively on advancing women's issues and interests relating to HIV/AIDS, income generating enterprises, training, policy development, social justice, and peace. During the late 1990s' social unrest and ethnic tension, Apollonia worked with other committed women to restore peace. Her commitment to working for peace and women's and children's rights has seen her engagement with the Peace Monitoring Council (now known as the National Peace Council).

Appollonia Bola Talo's son says: "I have no enemies. Just like my mother, I believe in peace. Everyone comes to my mother for assistance; whatever it is and what time it is, does not matter. That is how I grew up and that is how I will live my life. My mother is a leader, teacher, and a human rights advocate." He is a mechanic. At the height of the ethnic tension in Solomon Islands, news went around of another murder. Appollonia had to travel a long way to come to town to see for herself if her son was the latest victim. She worked closely with the Franciscan Brothers from Hautambu (West Guadalcanal) and the Patterson House in Honiara for security reasons, to get through the many checkpoints and gunpoints. Fortunately, her son was safe but Appollonia made him return home with her. During bad times, Appollonia was not only worrying about her own family but the people as a whole: "In a later stage of the tension, when the country was moving into peace and the maintenance of law and order, I played an active role in the collection of arms from militants and those who were illegally in possession of guns around Guadalcanal. I had to travel with men around the island to collect arms from the militants. This may sound easy but in fact it was difficult as it involved a lot of negotiations and convincing to do. Talks and a lot of awareness work had to be organized and done, not only with the militants but with the parents and the general public as a whole, on the importance of the surrender and collection of arms."

Family Support Centre Guadalcanal Provincial Council of Women National Peace Council