Yopia beats odds, will graduate

National

By PETER WARI
A PERSON living with disability and who was ill-treated on his first day of class by his classmates and teachers is now doing practical with a local business house in Mendi, Southern Highlands.
He will be graduating next week at the Mendi Technical Vocational Education and Training Centre (Tvet).
Christopher Yopia, from Tepe village in the Imbonggu district, who has vision impairment will be the first such person to graduate with certificate in business accounting and secretariat. He was taught at ther Kalang Network Services (Mendi branch) by instructor Noah Kuns.
Kuns, who also has vision impairment, graduated from the University of Goroka in 2013 and taught Braille and computing skills to Yopia.
Yopia said not everyone mistreated him but one of his teachers did not want him in the class and said the government did not pay him extra money to teach people living with disabilities.
“His greatest fear was that I was blind and I could not read handouts and writings on the blackboard and he would have hard time teaching me,” Yopia said.
“But with the help of my siblings and instructor Kuns, I had a laptop installed with speech software (Jaws) for the blind which made it easier for me to understand things taught in class,” he said.
Yopia said after three weeks of class, a test worth 20 marks was given by the teacher in which he scored 20 and that was when the teacher started trusting him.
Yopia said when he applied for practical at business houses in Mendi, they rejected him because of his disability but Poiyo Ltd accepted him and gave him a chance to put into practice what he had learnt.

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