By LULU MARK
JIM John was 10 when his parents separated. A painful experience but it made him more resolute to be successful in life – helped and guided by his mother Rona Wasitianai.
Jim, the second youngest of six brothers and a sister, last month became the first in the family to graduate with a degree from university.
“Working towards achieving my dream was challenging. I went through a lot of hardship after the separation of my parents in 2009. But I was determined to achieve my dream. All that I faced did not cripple my quest for education.”
Last month, he paid for his mother to come down from their Gii village in Kiunga, North Fly, Western Highlands to Port Moresby to witness the momentous occasion when he received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism, Public Relations, and Linguistics.
“I was able to fly my mother down to Port Moresby to witness my (University of PNG) graduation.”
“ I went through a lot of hardship after the separation of my parents in 2009. But I was determined to achieve my dream.”
Jim thanks his mum and all those who had helped in funding his education including the Ok Tedi Development Foundation through the Tutuwe Trust Fund for Community Mine Continuation Agreement (CMCA) villages in Western.
He also thanks Western Governor Taboi Awi Yoto for the provincial education assistance scheme of which he was a recipient.
“I thank the OTDF, Governor Yoto and the village planning committee chairman Nathan Samuel for my school fees. Tertiary institutions charge high fees ranging from K10,000 to K20,000, or more depending on the programmes and board fees.”
Jim, 23, is from Gii village in Kiunga, North Fly district of Western. He has five brothers and a sister.
Jim looks at his degree as a major achievement for his family who are strong Seventh-Day Adventist church members.
“Putting God first, I endured all issues in my life.”
He became an active member of the UPNG Seventh-Day Adventist Tertiary Students Association. He is always early to church, taking part in its programmes.
Jim attended the Gretutu Adventist Primary School in Kiunga from 2005 to 2010. He went on to Grade Nine at the Kiunga Secondary School in 2011, completing Grade 12 in 2014.
He was accepted to pursue a Diploma in Language and Communication at UPNG. He also took up courses in journalism and public relations, and linguistics from 2015 to 2020.
During semester breaks, Jim would join radio and television stations in Port Moresby and Western for on-the-job training.
He is now working as the assistant media officer at OTDF which he sees as a way of giving back to those who had supported him in his education.
He plans to promote issues facing the people to appropriate agencies to address.
“Most rural villages in the province have issues affecting people’s lives that need to be addressed – health services, education, police service and businesses.”
He wants to be a voice of the people to ensure that transparency and good governance are maintained in the delivery of public services in the district and province.
“Effective communication of issues, information and solutions will lead to fast and effective changes.”
From a broken home to academic success, and firm plans for the future, it had been a long hard road for Jim.
But his faith in God, perseverance, sacrifice and hard work had been the key to his success. And expect more from Jim. You can be sure the Gii villager is not done yet.