She never took sympathy as it was, but rather blended it with lifes challenges, and headed then through doors of achievement.
For this little girl, born in a Papua New Guinea village, the world remained nothing more than merely a confined area that could be touched by her faultering steps, when she was afflicted by polio.
Watching her coeval cousins playing merrily around her, Ipul Powaseu would just smile back, trying to join them. She would find it difficult even to reach it to her school, that was barely 2 kilometers from her house. Trying to maintain pace with her crutches, that little distance would seem light years to her. She would usually be late to school. Poor little soul!
But her teachers understood her plight, and considered helping her though. They thought she would merely be able to complete the basics, and then give up, because of her disability. But their predictions got blurred under the brightness that shone in her eyes. Yes, she was a bright child!
She went on and on, achieving her graduation and Masters’ in Business Communication Management. Today, she holds many feathers in her cap. She devoted her life to the uplifting of the disabled in every possible way. She now serves as a ministerial advisor, and a guiding spirit for the enhancement of Rights of People with Disabilities. She also serves as the Chairperson of the PNG Assembly of Disabled Persons.
On October 3, 2012, my mother joined in, to launch a report on disability at the second ever "Pacific Disability Ministers’ Meeting", held in Port Moresby in Papua New Guinea.
The report overviewed the disabled lifestyle, and explored the possibilities of achieving betterment amongst aspects like health, rehabilitation, social support, education, and employment for the disabled.
She, along with other advocates, presented the report to be used in forming national-level disability strategies. This woman did not just talk about rights, but also about the removal of social barriers. She encouraged promoting of the enormous talent embedded under the cover of disability. She urged those with such talents, come out and let those talents be used for the greater good.
Ipul also is a part of a WHO Rehabilitation Guidelines Development Group that aims at creating and implementing universal guidelines for adding quality to rehabilitation services, and helping them to overcome the obstacles encountered along the way.
As per her being a person with a physical impairment, she says: "I know just how important access to rehabilitation services is, to being able to participate fully in society. I hope that these guidelines will prove to governments around the world, that the relatively small investment required for rehabilitation has enormous benefits in enabling people with disabilities to attain their fullest potential in terms of independence and participation".
Truly said Ms. Ipul, for Disability shall know no bounds!