Young mother Rebu fighting against all odds


THE easiest way to get out of a difficult situation is to throw your hands in the air and give up. Especially when you are young and still in school. Not Rebu Kende, 29, from Kompiam in Enga. When she found herself pregnant while in Grade 10, she took hold of her life and started to manage it better. Today, she is a food and beverage manager at a big hotel in Port Moresby and plans to continue her training in the hospitality industry in an Australian college. Rebu in 1999 started her elementary education at the Kilakila Community School. She then attended the Evedana Primary School at Nine-Mile for Grade 6 to Grade 8 from 2005 to 2007. She was selected to attend Kilakila Secondary School in 2008 where she completed Grade Nine and Grade 10. In 2009, after sitting for the Grade 10 examination, she found out that she was pregnant. Life was so miserable to her. But she did well in the Grade 10 examination and was again offered a place for Grade 11 at the same school in 2010. After delivering her baby during the holiday, she returned to school. But somehow, she had lost the drive and interest to study. “After delivering my child, I really wanted to continue with my studies. So I went back and register myself for the 2010 academic year. “But after a few weeks, I started missing my child at home. It was painful and challenging to me as a young mother. So I withdrew from school and stayed home to look after my baby.” She looked for a job in the city to support them. A hotel at Seven-Mile offered her a job in 2012 as a housekeeping assistant. But then disaster struck again in 2014 when her mother passed away and she had to resign from work. In 2019, she asked the hotel to get her job back. Her employer knew what she could do and took her back, this time to work in the front office as a guest relations officer.

“ If you aim for something, you will still get it. Don’t give up. Each day is a new day and God has a plan for each one of us.”

Her managers continued to notice her zeal and commitment to work and appointed her as a food and beverage attendant.  When the hotel was forced to pay off some staff during the Covid-19 outbreak, Rebu was appointed to be in charge of the 10 employees in the hotel’s restaurant. Last year, she was appointed food and beverage supervisor at the restaurant. Looking back, Rebu knows she has proved to herself that she could do what she wanted. She learns from how her colleagues go about their work and tries to emulate them.  Although she had wanted at school initially to become a teacher, she has found herself in the tourism and hospitality industry and plans to do her best there. She plans to further her knowledge and skills in the industry at the Australian Pacific Technical College after she completes three years as a food and beverage supervisor with the help and support of the hotel as her sponsor. Rebu is happy with where she is at. “The package that I earn is enough for me to sustain my life in the city. It’s about the same as a university student. So I am happy.” Her advice to girls who end up like her is to never give up. “I didn’t complete school. I faced a situation (I did not plan for). But I have learnt that if you aim for something, you will get it if you don’t give up. Each day is a new day, and God has a plan for each one of us.”

  • Words and pictures supplied by Michael Philip.

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