PNG’s first soft tissue remedial therapist, Brian Kwaragu has achieved many things despite his vision impairment. Supported by Australia Awards PNG, Brian set out to pursue an Advanced Diploma in Health Science (Soft Tissue Therapy) and his profession has created avenues of opportunity for him to travel and work in PNG and other Pacific Island nations.
While in training, he was part of the medical team at the 2015 Oceania Games in Cairns and also toured with Team PNG to Vanuatu for the 2017 Mini South Pacific Games. Today Brian provides freelance soft tissue remedial therapy, and his clients include athletes and patients living with trauma related chronic pain.
Reflecting on his journey, Brian says, “Classified as being legally blind I said what can I do to contribute to the country? I want to be a person to deliver a service to help others. I used to think, I have a disability and I am no use to my country. Having this profession, I’m contributing something in the country. From my work, I get accepted because I’m earning and contributing in my community. I’m confident in what I’m doing. I love my job. Having that skill makes me useful.”
Operating a niche service, Brian easily achieved his mission to be a valuable contributor to the health and wellbeing of people in Papua New Guinea. Knowing he could do more, Brian applied for an Australia Awards PNG alumni grant to run a relaxation massage therapy workshop. His goal was to transfer knowledge and teach a marketable skill to others. Brian’s students included sporting coaches and professionals working in the hospitality and wellness industries.
He recently attended a disability workshop on policy planning for fair employment. At the workshop he learnt that other members of the special needs community could not find work.
Brian is considering running a workshop to teach relaxation massage therapy to people living with disability to build capacity and promote self-reliance within the special needs community. Teaching massage therapy to this community will be far more challenging and Brian is currently researching and planning the workshop while sourcing funding to support the event.