By LORRAINE JIMAL
HAVING a passion to look after and care for the environment, Edwin James of Marapini village in Pangia, Southern Highlands decided to study sustainable development at university.
Edwin graduated from the University of PNG with a Bachelor in Sustainable Development degree last November and is now working for the Conservation and Environment Protection Association in Port Moresby.
His job is to educate landowners on the importance of development and conservations of land.
“The decisions that they make today will affect future generations. So we are here to educate them on the importance of land and the environment.”
Edwin, 26, is working in the terrestrial division to fulfill his passion as he build his confidence and skills in the profession.
He was born on June 20, 1994, the second eldest in a family of three. His elder sister is Lillian and younger brother is Samuel.
Their father James Yandu and mother Elisha are not formally employed. Their mother sews meri blaus and sells them at the Boroko arts and craft market to support the family and pay school fees as well.
James completed his primary education at the East Goroka Primary School. He moved to Port Moresby and completed his secondary education at the Tokarara Secondary School in 2014.
He was accepted by the university as a day student because he could not afford the boarding fees.
Edwin often stayed back in school with his friends to complete his work and assignments.
“ The decisions that they make today will affect future generations. So we are here to educate them on the importance of land and the environment.”
“It was not easy living outside campus and going to and from class. It was tiring and I had little time to do extra studies.”
But he kept at it for four years and managed to complete the degree course.
While in his third year in 2018, James had a son with his partner Davitha Paul. He almost quit classes because of the pressure it put on him.
“Our parents were not aware of the marriage and the child. It was really difficult because they were the people who supported us. And when they pulled back, I wanted to leave school.”
But with faith and courage, James stood by his partner and continued his studies.
His son Yanderson was born on Dec 28, 2018.
“I have no regrets having my son and wife as this is the life I wanted. So I worked hard to achieve my dreams. Seeing my son growing up is something any father would be proud of.”
Edwin has also gained confidence in public speaking and negotiating with landowners.
“Landowners come up with so many ideas about their land. And we as CEPA officers look for the best way to approach them so that they will understand.”
He plans to work for two years and then pursue further studies for a masters’ degree.
Edwin is fortunate to have a job. And he really appreciates all those people who help him during his training at work.
“Challenges at work are different from school. I do a lot of consultative work and it took me a lot of time to adapt to the system. But thanks to the people I’m working with who help me and are open. I’m free to ask them anything I need to know.”
He wants to do his best for the organisation he is working for today. His degree fits in well too with the work he is doing.
After all the hard times and challenges, things are starting to look up for him.