By LORRAINE JIMAL
WHEN her story and picture first appeared on the front page of this newspaper on Oct 20, 2015 with the headline “Hope on her mind”, Isabella Kila revealed to all her dream of becoming a lawyer one day.
The picture of her sitting for the Grade 12 national examination at the Gerehu Secondary School, her pen stuck between her right upper arm and chin, her mind focused on the exam, caught many people’s attention.
A girl born with a rare disease characterised by the absence of limbs (Tetra Amelia Syndrome) was telling the world she wanted to become a lawyer. Possible?
Of course, according to the 25-year-old from Rigo in Central.
“There is power in the mind. Whatever we strongly think about us will happen. If we think about positive things, like being successful, and achieving our goals, that’s what we will get. But if we think about negative and fearful things, then we will never be successful.”
Isabella was recently admitted to the PNG bar as a lawyer after graduating from the University of PNG law school and the Legal Training Institute where she received the Roslyn Anakapu Landlord and Tenant award.
She described her graduation ceremony last November as “an event in my life that I will always cherish. It made me appreciate the degree I hold. It’s a degree of a noble profession”.
Isabella is the third eldest and the only girl in a family of five. Parents Benjamin and Judith Kila are from Gobakigolo and Tauruba villages in Rigo, Central.
She is still looking around for work. Her aim is to fight for the rights of people living with disabilities.
“I want to make sure that their rights are not deprived and that they feel wanted and included. My plan is to find a good job and concentrate on how I can help people with special needs.”
It can be either a private or public law firm as long as she can help people with special needs.
The Isabel Kila Foundation was established years ago to help her financially in her studies. She wants to use the same foundation to help others as well.
Now that she has graduated, she is more relaxed and less stressed from school work, studies, assignments and practicals.
“But I know that my life or my journey is not finished here. There are many things I want to see taking place in terms of the rights of people with special needs. I am very proud that one chapter of my life has finally ended and I am now looking to starting the next chapter.”
Her parents supported her through her education journey and Isabella is forever grateful to them for that.
After that front page story in The National on Oct 20, 2015, some including the RH (Rimbunan Hijau) Foundation, friends and family members came forward to help her financially in her studies.
Kila started her education at the Cheshire Homes Disability Service Centre from 2001 to 2004, then to the Philip Aravure Primary for grades three to eight from 2005 to 2011. She then attended the St Charles Lwanga for grades nine and 10 before going to the Gerehu Secondary School in 2014 for Grade 11 and completing Grade 12 in 2015.
“ There is power in the mind. If we think about positive things, like being successful and achieving our goals, that’s what we will get. But if we think about negative and fearful things, then we will never be successful.”
She was accepted in 2016 as a law degree student at the University of PNG.
She recalls facing a lot of challenges growing up and attending mainstream schools.
“Generally, the main challenge is the lack of accessibility in schools, market places and shopping malls. These are the barriers that prevented me from moving around and seeing new places.”
But dad Benjamin always admires his daughter for her courage, calling her “a fighter”. After her graduation, he thanked everyone who had supported her to make her dream come true.
“This is an achievement for all her sponsors and partners including the RH Foundation, Cheshire PNG, Digicel Foundation and other individuals.”
Mother Judith also told after the graduation of how Isabella would be determined to be in school even during bad weather.
“She was always determined and her interest and passion was the reason I had to ensure she was properly covered during wet seasons to go to school. We have sacrificed so much and Isabella worked hard for this.”
Isabella in turn is indebted to her family for supporting her.
“It’s obvious that I would never be successful or come this far without the support of my family. I’d say that I have a very strong support system at home.”