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Cheshire disability Center signs MOA with Digicel PNG Foundation

Cheshire DisAbility Services and Digicel Papua New Guinea (PNG) Foundation signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) to continue assisting persons with disabilities (PWDs) today in a small but significant ceremony at the Cheshire home, Port Moresby.

The two organizations have partnered through their Community Based Rehabilitation (CBR) program – Cheshire DisAbility Services being the facilitator and Digicel PNG Foundation being of assistance with funding – which has been running for the past five years; this year will be the sixth year. The program basically aims to help persons with disabilities (PWDs) get back on their feet and hopefully find their way back to living a healthy and normal life. The program provides rehabilitation to PWDs in terms of talks and physiotherapy – this also includes education programs for special needs children.

Joyce Koupere, Programs Manager for Cheshire DisAbility Services, stated that the CBR program saw participants from many parts of Port Moresby and the Central province as well.

“We have had many persons with disabilities from various communities within NCD such as the local Motu Koita villages starting from Mahuru down to Hanuabada which actually had the highest numbers of special needs persons,” said Ms Koupere.

“We have also had communities in the Morata settlements, 8 mile, 9 mile, ATS and the furthest is 17 mile.”

Ms Koupere stated that almost 3,000 people that had undergone the CBR program had at least been assisted one way or another whether it had been the rehabilitation part in terms of improving their disability, physiotherapy, or even for the special needs children who were enrolled in the CBR home-based schools.

Bernard Aiyeko, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for Cheshire DisAbility Services, strongly stated that education was very important to every child, whether disabled or able bodied.

“For the children, we all know that education is the foundation for their success and future so the CBR program supports this by providing home-based classes for them,” said Mr Aiyeko.

“A lot of special needs children are actually on wheelchairs and need help with transportation from their homes to their schools which is the reason for the CBR home-based education as our vehicles cannot cater for many wheelchairs.”

Mr Aiyeko mentioned that it was also a call to the government to be more inclusive with special needs children because as much as the CBR program prepared them through home-based schooling, they would still face difficulties in mainstream schools.

Digicel PNG Foundation CEO Beatrice Mahuru said that program was an initiative that helped create a world for everyone and not just able bodied people.
“We want to create a world where no one is left behind and that includes our people who have disabilities,” said Ms Mahuru.

“For us in the community who are able and privilege, we have a responsibility to help rewrite their narratives so that they do not just stay at home and feel unwanted or unloved because they are equally as intelligent as we are.”

She added that while conducting a CBR program at Pari village, she had seen something that caught her attention that she would not forget.

“I saw on the T-shirt of a person who had a disability in Pari village which read: ‘your sympathy is my disability’ and I think that’s such a powerful statement because they don’t want us to feel sorry for them – they want us to include them in everything we do.”

This year’s MOA signing saw Digicel PNG Foundation give a total of K95, 000 to the Cheshire Home for the CBR program. PNGFM
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