10 March 2016
Brenda Lombange is a champion and role model for the one in every five Papua New Guinean’s who live with a disability. A strong and determined young woman, Brenda is showing people living with disabilities how she tackles the challenge of trying to live a normal healthy life. Her determination is illustrated in her incredible story about the hard work, perseverance and determination it took to fulfil her dream of furthering her education in Australia
A single-mum caring for a three-year old daughter, Brenda suffers from the rare and very debilitating congenital condition of talipes equinovarus (CTEV), or club foot. Despite the challenges she faced, this young woman from Enga remained committed to her dream of winning a highly-competitive and prestigious Australia Award Scholarship to undertake studies in Australia. Brenda’s commitment paid off. Finding herself on a plane to live and study an Advanced Diploma of Business Management at the Canberra Institute of Technology, Brenda’s dream had come true.
Although she was completely reliant on crutches, Brenda didn’t let that stop her from getting around Canberra and living a full and rewarding life.
“I never take pity in myself, and I don’t encourage it with others who have a special need. You have to be active and independent and continue living a normal life,” Brenda says.
It’s been an amazing roller coaster ride for Brenda. Leaving her toddler daughter behind with her family so she could gain an Australian qualification was a tough decision. But she knew this short-term decision would be rewarded by the long-term career gain her studies would afford her and her daughter.
“I encourage others to grab such opportunities [with the Australia Awards] and translate them into action. It’s important to show what you are able to do, especially if you a person living with disability,” Brenda says.