The National, Thursday 5th January 2012
By PISAI GUMAR
THREE disabled family members in Southern Highlands were surprised to receive free wheelchairs for Christmas from Mt Hagen-based charity organisation, Foundation for Rural Development (FORD) Inc.
Among the six children of the Ibabe family, from Paipali village, in Tari, Hela, two brothers and a sister had to quit schooling after becoming disabled.
Ronald Ibabe, 33; Regina Ibabe, 26, and Max Ibabe, 22, are all disabled.
They were all born normal and attended primary schools until an unknown disease struck them when Ronald and Max were in Grade 4 and Regina in Grade 10.
They became immobile and lived through the kindness of their parents and relatives.
However, a Porgera Joint Venture security officer with the Asset Protection Department, John Tandali recognised the hardship they had to endure.
Tandali then convinced FORD Inc to acquire three wheelchairs for them to give them some mobility.
“Neither the government nor politicians or private sectors gave a thought about these people having equal opportunity, rights and freedom of movement,” Tandali said.
Tandali commended FORD Inc for their great work in reaching out into communities to help disabled people.
FORD Inc director Andreas Pu’u praised Tandali for his insight and keenness in identifying disabled people in need.
Pu’u said FORD Inc operated at the other side of Mt Hagen city and provided help and publicity to help disabled people.
Ronald, on behalf of his brother and sister, fought back tears and thanked the agency and Tandali.
He said they would take great care of the wheelchairs.