Ken spent a number of years as a teenager living in Papua New Guinea. There, he saw first hand the devastating effects of malaria. Even after leaving PNG for university, Ken kept in touch with the close friends he had made while living there. Over the years, letters, emails and phone calls continued to arrive telling of yet another death due to malaria.
Early in 2009, Ken decided to actively pursue the raising of awareness about malaria, and combining his aviation experience and his life in Papua New Guinea, Millions Against Malaria was born.
Ken learned to fly in PNG and currently holds an Australian Commercial Pilot’s Licence along with a S/E Command Instrument Rating which he achieved through Bendigo Aviation Services.
Ken Evers works in the Animal Standards Unit of the Victorian Department of Primary Industries where he is heavily involved in Australia’s National Livestock Identification System (NLIS). Ken is married to Kimberly, and they have three sons; Kristoffer, Kyle and Kaden.
Tim grew up in Victoria, Australia and joined the Victorian Police Force after completing high school. Largely due to the influence of his father, Tim started flying in 1975. In 1985, Tim obtained his Australian Commercial Pilot’s Licence and entered New Tribes Bible College in Sydney.
Tim and his family then moved over to the United States in 1988 where he conducted further aviation training with New Tribes Mission Aviation. While in the USA, Tim obtained his US Commercial Pilot’s Licence.
In 1989, serving New Tribes Mission, Tim passed a mountain and bush flying course, and moved to Papua New Guinea where he also obtained his PNG Commercial Pilot’s Licence. While in Papua New Guinea, he amassed over 2700 hours flying into some of the world’s most rugged airstrips under incredibly challenging flying conditions.
Tim also had the unfortunate experience of contracting malaria himself four times, and in his capacity as a pilot in PNG saw the death and suffering malaria causes throughout so much of Papua New Guinea.
Tim currently owns his own building company, Rock Solid Foundations, in Bendigo,Victoria. Tim is married to Sue, and they have four children; Nat, Rachel, Leigh and Bree. Tim and Sue are also the proud grandparents of four grandchildren.
Mouna Sogo is from East Sepik and Central parentage inPapua New Guinea, but grew up inPort Moresby. Almost every citizen of PNG has suffered from malaria more than once in their lives and Mouna is no exception. She has personally experienced and witnessed countless cases of the disease affecting and destroying lives within her country.
Sadly the attitude in many countries is that there is nothing much that can be done about malaria, because everyone has grown up with it. In Papua New Guinea, there is a saying “If you have not got malaria, you are not a ‘PNGean’.” Mouna subscribed to this line of thought until Ken Evers and Tim Pryse landed inPort Moresby during their flight around the world. Their message of “Millions Against Malaria” changed Mouna’s views and she too has become extremely passionate about fighting malaria in her homeland.
Mouna met Ken Evers years before the Millions Against Malaria flight as they both attended the same school at Gerehu Christian Academy in PNG until the Evers family ‘gone finished’ to Australia.
Mouna Sogo was recently awarded a scholarship through here employment at Ausaid inPort Moresbyand thus is currently studying Community Development at Chisholm Institute of Tafe inDandenong,Victoria. Mouna is heavily involved in a number of community causes back in PNG and is seeking to use this scholarship to enhance her involvement in the issues affecting her country.
Mouna is married to Sebea Sogo and they have two children, Serena and Clement, and, yes, they have all suffered from malaria.
A brief message from Mouna: “The challenge in PNG is first and foremost to change ‘attitudes’ or ‘mindsets’ towards malaria, hygiene and priorities. How do we get people to avoid the illness and not to ‘crawl’ up to the clinics when we are at the very height of it and expect the medical staff to perform miracles?
On the other side of the coin, an average family views that until you are literally in the worst state of any illness that:
1. You don’t need to go to the hospital.
2. The little money we have is better spent on food than paying hospital fees.
3. You will have to spend the whole day or even two days just to see a doctor.
4. The miracle pill or malaria is the same for most others…..panadol or amoxicillin.
5. That you ride out the illness and show that you can be tougher than the illness.
Unfortunately we have witnessed one too many unnecessary deaths or patients affected mentally because of malaria and this could have been avoided. The irony is that all this is happening in the capital city of Papua New Guinea, imagine the state that people are living in the remote villages!”