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Disability does not mean inability

At the age of 23, he lost his sight in the line of duty as a police officer during the Bougainville crisis, but through his determination he overcame his disability and was able to do what any abled body person can do.
Ben Theodore from East New Britain province is now 52 and has been blind for over twenty years of his life.
“I used to be a sighted person but I lost my sight on 29th of November 1989 in an ambush where I was amongst the first three policemen who were killed whilst on duty in Buka during the crisis,” said Mr Theodore.
“After losing my sight, I went down to Australia and underwent eye operations but unfortunately, my sight could not be retrieved.”
He stated that while in Australia, he had done some training in sports and underwent counselling as well as part of his rehabilitation process.
“As a blind person, I was still employed as a policeman, earning my salaries, and also taking part in sports.”
“I was one of the first Paralympians for PNG in the 2000 Paralympic Games in Sydney. Later in 2005 I established and became President of the PNG Paralympic Committee."
“I came back to PNG and was still employed as a policeman but I was moved from the mobile squad to the communications department. I was based in Mt Hagen but transferred to Rabaul, and then to Kokopo all through to 2007 when I left the police force.”
Apart from serving in the Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary (RPNGC) and being President of the Paralympics Committee, Mr Theodore also was Coordinator for AECOM’s ‘Strongim Pipol, Strongim Nesen’ (SPSN) from 2013 to 2016 which was basically serving to rectify the convention of the rights of Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) in the country.
Today, he is the Chairman for the National Board for Disabled Persons and a Consultant with the Australian Awards.
“You can be blind, deaf, intellectually challenged, on a wheelchair, etc – but disability doesn’t mean inability,” he said.

Picture: Mr. Ben Theodore/PNGFM
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