TEN per cent of this year’s awardees of Australian scholarship are people with some form of disabilities.
Among them is wheelchair bound Manoka Igo, who is an administration manager of the Cheshire Disability Services in Hohola, Port Moresby.
She and her husband Hekoi Igo, who is blind and is the interim chairman for PNG Blind Union, are receiving scholarships for the second time.
A statement from the Australian High Commission said the recipients of next year’s scholarship have completed preparations and were ready to depart for Australia for their studies in 2015.
The 154 recipients, of whom 85 were women and 69 men, gathered from across PNG for pre-departure briefings in Port Moresby this week.
Australian High Commissioner to PNG, Deborah Stokes said an Australia Award represented the culmination of many years of effort, sacrifice and commitment.
"Education brings tremendous opportunities. It opens up the range of choices we have. It is transformative," said Ms Stokes.
"PNG needs all of its citizens educated and able to participate in the nation’s development. In 2015, more than 50 per cent of Australia Award recipients are women, and almost 10 per cent are to people living with a disability.
"It also provide recipients the opportunity and responsibility to show leadership in their community, their organisation, or in the political sphere. We want to support the next generation of PNG leaders," Ms Stokes said.
Most of the group are first time recipients and will be supported to return to PNG with a qualification and skills they can use to effectively contribute to furthering Papua New Guinea’s development.
Since 1996, more than 2000 Papua New Guineans have studied in Australia on scholarships.
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