Self-reliance, hard work drives Elly forward


ONE big lesson Elly Kalawa learnt from her parents, both accountants, is to be self-reliant.
“As accountants, my parents taught me to be self-reliant and to practise a savings culture. I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for my parents support. I thank God for blessing me with wonderful parents who never cease to encourage me to do better in life.”
Elly, 30, is from Nangananga village in the Raluana local level government of Kokopo district in East New Britain. Her elder brother is a secondary school teacher.
Elly is single but is planning to start a family soon.
Her dad passed away in 2018 while working as an accountant with ENB Works Department.
Her mother is currently working as an accountant with New Britain, New Ireland Seventh Day Adventist mission headquarters in Kokopo.
Elly attended the Nangananga Primary School where she completed Grade Eight in 2005.
In 2009, she completed Grade 12 at the Kokopo Secondary School.

“ As accountants, my parents taught me to be self-reliant and to practise a savings culture. I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for my parents support.”

She graduated from the University of Papua New Guinea in 2012 with a Diploma in Language and Communication.
In 2015, she graduated with a double major in Journalism and Public Relations with Linguistics and Modern Languages.
She then worked for a while as a newspaper sub-editor.
She was also a tutor for FODE classes to pay for her school fees. She taught English and Social Science for grades Nine and 12.
“I didn’t want to burden my parents as I already graduated and was expected to be working by now.”
Elly also sold ice blocks and repacked sugar and rice which she sold to villagers.
“Sometimes I accept Tolai traditional shell money (tabu) for these items. Then I give the tabu to my aunties so they can join them and we can exchange for money again.”
Being a university graduate without a permanent job earlier was embarrassing to her, especially when people asked where she is working now.
“My parents tried to help me by securing a job but I refused and told them that I’ll look for the job myself as I don’t want to be seen as getting a job through the wantok system. My parents were just giving me options to consider and apply in the right way.”
In 2017, she finally got a job at the East New Britain provincial administration as a cadet information officer in the information and public relation unit. She was attached with the Rabaul district administration.
Last year in May, she got the permanent position with the Rabaul district administration as an information and public relation officer.
Then in July, she and 28 other public servants received certificates in leadership and governance after a one-month course at the Pacific Institute of Leadership and Governance at Vunadidir.
“We attended the training in May and June 2019 on financial management regulations as well as rules and regulations of government and how we can implement the training we receive at the work place.”
Elly learnt a lot from the leadership and governance course. She hopes to use her knowledge and experience to move up the ranks.
She also plans to pursue a diploma in leadership and governance at the institute.
Her advice to graduates still looking for jobs is not to be choosy.
“Start somewhere, then work your way up, even if it is something not related to the field you graduated in.
“Later you can make your way around but have something to keep you going for the moment.
“Don’t worry about criticisms. And don’t forget to give God’s one tenth or tithe. That’s how you will be blessed more.”