‘The rehab centre belongs to people with disabilities’

Two persons living with disability in Port Moresby are appealing to the Department of Community Development to step in and assist them get back the Brown Kapi Foundation rehabilitation centre.

The rehabilitation centre at Hohola has become the subject of a legal battle between the children of the late outspoken disability leader, Brown, whose elder brother Daniel and other siblings have reportedly taken over his estate.

Tole Wia and Benson Tegia are two persons living with disability who have had access to the centre for years. They cannot now because Daniel has taken over the facility, they claim.

“The rehab centre belongs to people with disabilities, and it will always remain the facility that will provide the required basic specialised services for people with disabilities. At the moment, we are sitting on pressure sores on our bottoms, because of long hours of sitting due to no proper blood circulation of our bottoms.

“The centre was created to rehabilitate paralysed people like ourselves to go to physical rehabilitation processes. How to manage pressure sores, bladder, urinal tract infections, use of wheelchairs, etc; a specialised institution.

“That place is built specifically to get that care. We are not getting that now. Some of our people are dying on the streets. They are occupying the facility there, collecting the rentals. They forced people living with disability out and are staying there,” Wia said.

Tegia alleges that an illegal board that does not reflect or represent the views of the majority of people with disabilities in the country is now running the centre.

“They are playing to the advantage of the disability people. We cannot even access the facility. We represent different aspects of people living with disabilities.

“We are also concerned with the department not making a statement. They have been very silent. We really need those services at the centre to be restored,” he said.

(Pictured are Tegia and Wia outside the courthouse today.)

Sally Pokiton