Priest buys crutches for student

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The National, April 29

JACK Tupi, a person living with a disability, will no longer use homemade crutches to walk to school, he is set to receive a new pair purchased on Friday, thanks to Fr Peter Meis.
Tupi who attends Catholic agency school St John Injet Primary School in Mendi-Munihu, Southern Highlands, walks to school which is a four-hour round trip on week days.
He developed the disability as a child after contracting polio which affected his left leg.
Catholic school secretary Daniel Beli said Fr Meis from the Mendi Catholic Diocese decided to help Tupi after seeing the teenager’s story in The National on April 29.
“I was really happy when Fr Meis told me of his plan to help. I had been visiting schools in the province including Hela and one of my main aims was to see if there were students with disabilities I could by talking to organisations and seeking help,” Beli said.
“I travelled to Mt Hagen on Friday and bought the crutches for K202. It will be a huge relief for Tupi, he will no longer struggle up hills or negotiate rough and slippery surfaces.”
Beli said he first discovered the teenager’s disability when he visited the school in early April.
He said Tupi was left alone in a corner near the assembly area as the other 300-plus students gathered for morning assembly.
He said he asked acting head teacher Jannetha His, why Tupi was not with the other students and she responded that it was because he was a person with a disability.
“I took a picture of him to show to Mendi special education service resource centre and other humanitarian organisations that would help,” he said.
Beli said he would travel to the school this week to present Tupi the new crutches.