Injuring his spine in 2011, Kelly Malara Avosa found himself in this situation.
And for four years, he was bedridden.
In 2015, he had an operation at Port Moresby General Hospital, allowing him to sit up.
“They put me in a wheelchair and sent me home…that was it,” he says.
But that was not enough for Avosa.
He wanted to walk again.
Avosa came across an article in the papers about Cheshire disAbility Services’ physiotherapy program.
“I had to go. So I asked my son to take me there on a Sunday,” he said.
Avosa instantly joined the program.
His rehabilitation goal was to increase and improve muscle power in all limbs, reduce spasticity in lower limb muscles, improve balance and tolerance and improve his activities of daily living.
By early 2016, he was on crutches.
“Everyone was shocked. I was not. I was strong. I really wanted to walk again. I told myself I am not a disabled person.”
This time, his rehabilitation goal was to confidently and independently walk again and to resume his self-employed business or secure a full-time employment.
In that year, City Pharmacy Limited group approached the disability service to employ persons living with disability.
In October, Avosa went for an interview at Hardware Haus.
Today, he is a sales representative with their plumbing section. Working for eight months now, part of his job is reaching items on high shelves with great confidence.
Avosa still has physiotherapy sessions but lately, he has been missing some due to work demand. But he makes up for that by walking every day to work at Central Waigani and back home to Hohola, where he resides.
Avosa’s story is not just a successful one for him but for the community based rehabilitation program as well.
The program has been in existence since the establishment of the organisation in 1965.
It was only in 2009/10, professional physiotherapists were brought into the program.
Now with two full time physiotherapists and trained fieldworkers equipped with basic skills, the program has seen so much success.
There are 1079 PLWDs with individual development plans and accessing various CBR assistance.
Avosa is the first from the program to have been successfully employed.
“We hope to get the others employed but we need companies to be willing to approach us. I think the only challenge now are accessible facilities for PLWDs,” said Joyce Koupere - programs officer with Cheshire disAbility Services PNG.