Habiri passionate about giving back

Career Training Institute School of Health Sciences lecturers.

A PRIVATE institution operating in Goroka, Eastern Highlands for the last three years has been giving opportunities to school leavers and non-school leavers through Flexible Open Distance Education (Fode), business studies, health sciences and aviation training.
After two successful years of providing education the institution is planning to take another step forward increasing enrolments for the 2022 academic year with the newly built school infrastructure to cater for the additional numbers.
Dropping out from Grade 12 in 1996 at Sogeri National High School didn’t stop the interest of Billi Habiri to pursue his education further. He attended Fode to upgrade his marks and later made his own way back into the education system.
His passion and commitment towards his studies despite once being a failure has made him the person he is today as the director of Career Training Institute.
“Failing my Grade 12 didn’t stop me from pursuing education in other ways as I do have plans as well that I can’t let go of it.”
Habiri’s education journey started at Faniufa Community School where he did started at preparatory grade and completed Grade 8 in 1992.
While in primary school he always had a dream of becoming a doctor one day and that didn’t fade in his mind untill he reached the eighth grade.
“Dreams that we have will come into reality if we work towards them so for me when I was growing up as a kid attending primary school I had a dream of becoming a doctor and I kept that dream close to my heart and I always prayed that one day I would achieve that dream.
“Growing up in a strong Seventh-Day Adventist family always reminds me to never give up as I know my good Lord has plans for my life even thou I fail him. The teachings of my parents I always kept it in my heart as I was doing my primary studies, having that hope that one day I will still become a doctor,” Habiri said.
In 1992 Habiri performed very well in his Grade 8 examination which earned him a place at the Goroka Demonstration High School the following year.
The 43-year-old describes his selection to high school as one of the biggest blessings in his young life as a student.
“I don’t know where I will go and where I should end up but it all comes back positive as I realised I did make it through to Grade 9 and that’s something I was proud about.
“As kids when you got selected to high school apart from your other school mates its totally another feeling, I felt like I was already a champion because I made it to Grade 9.
“Also my selection made me concentrate more on my studies and left behind some of the negative habits that I was used to practise during my primary school days. It made me think beyond to look at the bigger picture of what education would bring if commitment and dedication are applied.”
After completing Grade 10 at Goroka Demonstration High School in 1994 he was selected and offered a space at Sogeri National High School outside Port Moresby in 1995 to do Grade 11 and 12.
Studies did work out well for him for the two years attending one of the country’s biggest national high schools but unfortunately in 1996 he failed his Grade 12 national examination.
“It was a shock to me but there was no one to blame; I had to blame myself, but I trusted my good Lord that he would make way for me.
“I trust the process and accept the mistakes without giving up because I know that is not the end of my education life. I am young and I have a long way to go with lots of opportunities out there.”
The same year Habiri had to travel back to his hometown, Goroka after being overlooked by the universities and colleges that he had applied to.

Aviation students at the Career Training Institute undergoing their major project.

“I had no choice but to travel back home. I went home and looked for ways to get back to the education system to further my studies but school fees were another issue.
“I decide to work for the Eastern Highlands Governor as a security guard at his house. I worked for him for some years and then I felt that I had enough money I enrol at a Fode school.
With a little income from the security job, the Kami villager decided to enrol at the Goroka Fode centre formerly Eastern Highlands UPNG Study Centre.
Later, after successfully upgrading his marks he applied to the University of Goroka to do the Bachelor in Education course.
“That time Fode was not properly organised like what I am doing now so it took me almost four years to fully upgrade my marks.
“I didn’t give up, rather I did try my best to at least complete the tasks and assignments given on the handouts. I made it my responsibility to do my home works despite little assistance from the tutors until I completed it.”
The Goroka man got his first degree in education at the University of Goroka (UOG) in 2006 and was offered his first job by UOG as a chemistry tutor the same year.
He then went on to study chemistry in 2008 after two years of tutoring chemistry students and graduated with a degree in chemistry from UOG in 2011.
Degrees in education and chemistry were not enough for him so he went on to take up the Masters in Pharmaceutical Chemistry at the University of London in UK in 2012 and graduated in 2014.
To help others
“I failed in Grade 12. Had to do Fodeto get to university. I know the hardship of being a failure. I came from a poor family background that’s why I wanted to help and give back to my community.
“I want school dropouts to continue with their studies so they know that God has a purpose in their lives. Nothing is impossible if only we can achieve our dreams.”
Today Billi Habiri is the founder and director of Career Training Institute in Kainantu where he offers Fode studies, health sciences, business studies and aviation courses.
For the last two years the institute enrolled a total 7,415 students but with the idea of providing more opportunities in education and minimising the growing number of school dropouts they plan to enrol 14,800 students.
The health science school will enroll 400 students, business school 300, aviation school 100 and Fode 14,000 students.
“So we have altogether a total of 14,800 students that we looking forward to enrol this year and I am also proud to made known that I do have an education foundation named Habiri Foundation which off all the fees for the Fode students.
“This year I will give free education to the 14,000 Fode students and these are the school dropouts that I will pick from the streets,” he said.
Habiri says giving free education to the Fode students is a must because it gives them a second chance to prove that they can do it as many come from broken homes or are unprivileged marginalised youths.
He says he wants to give them the chance to get hold of a Grade 12 certificate as it will help them in extending their education in other institutions in the country or abroad.
With the theme Hope to the Hopeless and Future to the Futureless Habiri says money is nothing as development of the country is paramount. That can be achieved through providing quality education.
Career Training Institute is affiliated with the UOG and it also working on gaining recognition by the Department of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology.