By PETER WARI
SOME women in Hela who drop out of school to get married find it hard to return to the classroom to resume their education because of the family burden they have taken on.
They are also under the watchful eyes of their husband and his relatives who expect them to give the family priority. However not for mother-of-three Kency Terence, 31, of Hangapo village in the Tebi local level government of Tari-Pori district.
She went back to school and will be completing in September a community health worker midwifery training course she is doing under the Oil Search Foundation scholarship programme.
Kency is the fifth eldest of seven children. Her late father James Yambali was an aid post orderly who served in the area for years. Kency wanted to follow his footsteps to serve in the health sector. She had watched her father serving sick people and wanted to be like him one day.
But she only managed to reach Grade Eight in 2005 at the Hoiebia Primary School. And after spending a year in the village, she got married.
“I told my husband of my plan to go back to school and he understood what I wanted. He allowed me to do that even though our eldest son had been born.”
Her eldest son is in Grade Eight this year.
In 2008, she went back to school at the Hangapo Primary School near her home and passed Grade Eight, dividing her time between family duties and schooling.
She was selected to do grades Nine and 10 at the Hoiebia High School but a tribal fight in the village put a stop to that.
She stayed in the village for a year before resuming her education ion 2010 through the Flexible Open Distance Education (Fode). She passed grades Nine and 10.
After giving birth to a daughter, she attended the Salamo Community Health Worker training school in Milne Bay where she graduated in 2014.
Her husband works as a transport supervisor with a landowner company at the Oil Search Limited site in Moro, Southern Highlands.
“I am grateful to have a husband who understands me and did not stop me from pursuing my dream. While I was away in school training to be a community health worker, he looked after the children. He paid for my school fees until I completed the training.”
She started working at the Hangapo Health Centre where her father used to work.
“ There are many young girls who get married at a young age and think that their education has come to an end. It has not. Education has no limit.”
Kency ignored the people in the village who were criticising her for going back to school after her marriage.
She believes that in a society where there are many law and order issues, education is the key to changing attitude and behaviour. If there many educated people in a community, there will be progress.
She urges husbands to understand and support their wives if they want to return to school to fulfil their goals.
“There are many young girls who get married at a young age and think that their education has come to an end. It has not. Education has no limit. They can continue and achieve their goals if they respect their husbands and convince them of their wish to go to school.”