“Believe in yourselves. Don’t believe in what others say about you. Believe that you can achieve what you want to achieve,” says Nathan Kabisawali to those who may be challenged with a disability.

On the verge of completing his Agriculture Degree at UNRE in 2017, Nathan got sick and was admitted to Nonga hospital. He was diagnosed with tuberculosis (spinal TB) and could not walk because his left leg is too weak, so he withdrew from studies. He was referred to Port Moresby General Hospital for further investigations and treatment, but never gave up on his goal to study.

“I am the first born in the family and my siblings and parents look up to me. That has motivated me to get better and pursue my studies,” Nathan says.

Nathan went on to graduate from UNRE but felt he could not make use of his Agriculture degree due to his condition, so he applied for a scholarship to study a Post Graduate Diploma in Education at the University of Goroka (UoG). “With the degree that I got, I must be physically fit to work in the field, but I am not. Therefore, I decided to take up teaching so I could teach the soft skills. The scholarship program from Australia Awards PNG made this possible for me. I am very thankful for this scholarship that was awarded to me,” Nathan says.

Community Based Rehabilitation Officer Patrick Ukatai adjusting the elbow crutch for Nathan.

Australia Awards PNG is providing the support Nathan needs by coordinating with the Callan Services and Inclusive Education Resource Centre (IERC) in Eastern Highlands. The Community Based Rehabilitation (CBR) team under IERC, assessed him and recommended that he would require an elbow crutch to help him ambulate well on long distances and around the school environment. The Australia Awards In-Country Coordinating team purchased the Assistive Technology (AT) device and delivered to Nathan in September 2022.

“I am thankful for this AT device and for the support provided by Australia Awards PNG in collaboration with the Callan Services,” Nathan says.

The device will help him not only whilst in the university studying, but also as along-term support. Nathan will complete his studies by the end of this year.