Ruth Puluwa was determined to educate herself. She was knocked back three times by different institutions but never gave up on her dream of furthering her education. With resilience and determination, she overcame the challenges and earned a Diploma in Primary Teaching with an Australia Awards PNG scholarship.

In Tambul district in the Western Highlands province, Ruth attended Opeyapul Primary School and then went on to Togoba Secondary School to complete grade 12. She says that there’s no access to clean water at the school and consuming less water than she needed each day led to a serious illness, resulting in both of her ears becoming affected.

Ruth wanted to study business management at the University of Papua New Guinea, but she could not concentrate on her studies while in high school because of her hearing problem. She was therefore unsuccessful in securing a spot at UPNG after grade 12. She decided to come to Port Moresby, still determined to pursue her dream, regardless of the challenges she faced.

Ruth took up studies at the International Training Institute in Port Moresby but discontinued because of her hearing problem. She was then selected to study education at Assembly of God Jubilee College but her savings fell short of the school fees and she missed that opportunity.

She took the opportunity to work as an early childhood learner at the Institute of Christian Academy at Boroko. This job was a steppingstone for Ruth and inspired her to become a teacher. “I love this job because when I’m with the students, they motivate me every day and make me forget about my problems,” she says.

After saving up the money that she earned from her first job, Ruth upgraded her grade 12 subjects. She then applied to study at Sacred Heart Teachers College after a recommendation from her employer and was successful.Her elder brother paid her school fees for the first year, and an Australia Awards PNG Scholarship took care of the rest. “The Australia Awards PNG scholarship means everything to me. If I was not on the scholarship, I don’t think I would have graduated, because my elder brother, who supported me, passed away when I was in the second year of my study.

Following three years of study, Ruth graduated with a Diploma in Primary Teaching last year.

“I encourage others to apply for the Australia Awards PNG Scholarship. It is a good opportunity to support and guide you towards achieving your dreams,” says Ruth.