HE may be physically unfit for sports and some activities but when it comes to getting educated in school, he is just as strong-willed as anybody.
Peterson Mathius, 21, of Enga Province, has lived with a disability since birth but he will not let his disability pull him back from pursuing his ambition to study medicine at the University of Papua New Guinea.
This, by far, is his imminent challenge which he is determined to overcome and hopes, can pave way for more recognition and inclusion of people living with disabilities in Papua New Guinea.
"I hope the Government can see the need of people living with disability and one day recognise us. We are physically disabled but mentally most of us are not. We are also mentally capable of doing anything. We are strong too, you know.
"I hope that by attending university, more people with disability feel assured that we can become what we dream of becoming. No one can understand our plight so if I can do it, we all can," Mathius said.
"I have a rare disability which saw various treatments fail. Doctors couldn’t clearly explain my condition either."
Mathius has a condition where his body weight falls to one side of his body, making balance and mobility difficult.
Although physically disabled, throughout his upbringing, Mathius was taught to never resort to sympathy or self-pity and defeat by ridicule, less support or discrimination; he was taught to embrace challenges and find solutions.
The soft-spoken man said while he promotes inclusive disability, his other main challenge was also to study medicine and find a better solution or cure for the cause of his disability.
He is probably the first PLWD student accepted to the UPNG in a long while.
Mr Mathius said his entire school life has been about beating the odds, getting to school on time, taking part in the school’s recreational activities, facing discrimination and allowing changes as well as to learn as much as he could.
He said this has made him become strong-willed to set his goal to study medicine at the university.
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