Second chance is worth trying

Jackson Pama with his childhood friend and rugby league teammate, Prime Minister James Marape, who inspired him complete his education for a second chance in life. – Nationalpic by Rebecca Kuku

WHEN Jackson Pama, 46, saw his brother James Marape elected as Tari-Pori MP in 2007 and later becoming Finance Minister, he started believing that anything is possible if you work hard for what you wish.
Pama is from Hela’s Puribu village, the same village where Marape is from, and where they played in the same rugby league team.
Pama, now a policeman, tells his story on how Marape’s success in politics had inspired him to be a positive and responsible man.
He said he dropped out of Grade 8 in 1995, returned to his village and led a simple life.
In 2000, with encouragement from his peers and rugby team mates, including Marape, he returned to school and enrolled as a Grade 3 student in the Hapera SDA Primary School.
“From 2000 to 2008, I did my primary school again, and this time I made it for a place in Grade 9 at the Paglum High School. After Grade 9 and 10, I did not qualify to further my studies, so I returned to my simple life in the village.
“But after two years, Marape was elected a MP and was also appointed Finance Minister in 2012. That inspired me that one can achieve anything if we work hard for it and not give up,” he added.
In 2017, the Tari-Pori district initiated a strategy to give second chances to those who failed to go further into tertiary education.
“We were offered places in the Hope Institution. I was one of the 40 pioneer students to be enrolled that year and did my Grade 8, 9 and 10 again,” Pama said.
Pama and 20 others became the first Grade 11 students from Hope Institution to receive Grade 12 certificates in 2020.
“Education does not stop when you grow older, and it does not matter how many times you have to repeat a grade. So long as you believe in yourself, and is determined to achieve your goals, you will succeed,” he said.
Pama did his police training last week and is now attached with the Tari police in Hela.
Last year, 115 students graduated with Grade 12 certificates from Hope Institution, with four finding their way into the University of Papua New Guinea, six into the University of Goroka and 45 others were accepted into various colleges nationwide.
Marape, while sharing Pama’s stories with youths in Tari last week, reiterated, “never give up”.
“Pama was not afraid of going back to school despite his age because he had a dream, and he believed he can achieve it, and you all can too.”
“The Hope Institute will always have its doors open, if you do not make it to Grade 9 or 11. Go get yourself enrolled to complete your education,” Marapa said.
“And the district government will continue to support you because everyone needs a second chance. The Government does not want to leave anyone behind,” Marape said.