Our Stories

Our Stories - VDPA Vanuatu

The Vanuatu Disability Promotion and Advocacy Association (VDPA) invites you to read about some of the inspiring people in Luganville who don’t allow their disability to impact their way of life. Click on a link below to read each story.

Our People

Bronia Dick

Bronia Dick is 23 years old living in Luganville. She is deaf and can’t communicate.
When she wants to communicate with people, she reads lips of them. So, if you can’t read her lips, you can’t communicate with her without writing.

There is no national sign language in Vanuatu, that’s why who are deaf can’t learn any common sign language and they use original home sign language.

Bronia had been to Aore Adventist Academy School until grade 12. When she was student, she experiences discrimination kind of teasing merciless from the other students. In that time, she went home and stayed home to stay out of any trouble. She said, “I don’t mind people talking and say bad things to me. People sometime do not like me because they cannot speak my language.”

After several years, Bronia started doing her own business of painting clothes. At the moment she stopped doing her painting business because she doesn’t have enough funding and no interpreter to assist her.
She said, “It’s hard to sell my product because nobody understands my languages and signs.”
“After attending some activities organised by VDPA, I am now empowered. Now I want to do business of painting again. And I need some financial support for that.” said Bronia.

And now she is raising her daughter who is 7 years old while doing all the housework.
She has a very strong heart and power to live by herself, but if there are any help and kindness from the others, her life will be more brighter in future.

bronia dick luganville

bronia dick luganville

Courtney Vuti

Courtney Vuti is a young woman in Luganville. She is 23 years old.
She was born with a disability. She is a member of little people. But she can do anything same as people without disability. She can play volleyball and netball very well even though she has a disability. Her short height is no longer disability, it’s her individuality.

She is working as an assistant officer for VDPA. Before joining VDPA, she stayed at home and does housework and been supporting her mum at the Chinese shops where her mother works at.
She has been learning how to use Microsoft word and excel in VDPA. And now, she can provide documents such as media release, official letter, budget sheet, and so on. We first met her, she didn’t have confidence and she was very shy. But she had opened up bit by bit and built a good relationship with us. And now, she’s got confidence and enjoys her job.

She grew up in a great family. Her parents took good care of her same as other siblings and they are always kind to her. Also, they never maltreated her. So, she said “I’m happy that I got such a great family in my life.”

However, when she was a student, she faced a lot of challenges. Students insulted her and said nasty things that brought shame on her. Every day in school it was like living in hell for her.
When she walked in the town, some people said to her such things that hurts her felling and stares at her.
With all these attitudinal barriers, she didn’t only want to go to school but also didn’t want to go out.
But her parents encourages her a lot. After that, she didn’t care anymore if someone insulted her.

She said, “If someone say nasty things to me, I don’t worry about what they are saying. I just don’t care. Because, I know that I have the same human right as people without disabilities. However, other people with disability are isolating themselves from others while others stayed only in their houses. They don’t want to go out because people stare at them and says awful things to them. So, I wish to encourage everyone that if you see someone with a disability, please talk to them with respect in order for them to feel that they are part of the community and can move around freely and enjoy their rights as anyone else.”

courtney vuti luganville

courtney vuti luganville

Jack Maki

Jack Maki is a man of 46 years old of age living in Luganville from Paama. He is a very active person. We can see him in Luganville easily because he goes out to walk around the town so as to talk with his friends every day.
Sometimes he joins to some sports, such as sitting volleyball, shot-putting, and so on.
He is one of the active members of the para-athletes team in Luganville and the chairman of new DPO (Disabled Peoples Organization) the Santo Pepsi Disability Association which was established with a vision to advocate through theatre. Their purpose is increasing awareness on human rights.

He is the only son in his family and born without a disability.
He got disability 17th September in 2015, due to diabetes, his leg was imputed and uses crutches to assist him to move around. His wife finds a job to support them but it still was not enough so Jack is trying is best to find a job also.

When he walks around Luganville town, there are many people who don’t call him his name.
They call him “Jack Handicap” or “Jack Broke Leg”. These words make him feel so terrible.
But he always tells them resolutely that never call him by names, he also tells them “It’s a challenge that God gave me. But if you call me names, God will give you a challenge like me.”

He says there are many discriminations in Luganville town. And it’s a barrier.
For example, the government cashier is located on the 2nd floor of VNPF and it is hard for him to access and be able to pay his bills. There are no ramp nor is elevator. So even if there are women with pram, elderly people, wheelchair users, they too will not be able to access these services. That’s so hard for them.

Now, Sale kava every evening at his place and he is planning to upgrade his Kava Bar with income he is been winning in the evenings.
Today, there are plenty of kava bars in Luganville. He said that his business will be success.

But now he still got some problems. He really needs assistant to help him find a job to make payment for assistant and some bills and taxes.
He is insisting the fact that every people with disability have same right as people without disability.
So, every public institution must be accessible for every people with disability and include them inside their community.

He said, “Peoples with disability living in Luganville are shame to go out from their house. We must make possible for them to access to town in order to include them. Vanuatu skills partnership have few programs that supports people with disabilities and inclusion. We can do it. We can talk. But usually we need assistant.
But my friends with disability are confined to bed are worried that there is no way to feel free, also, they lost hope. They say that they don’t have the rights same as people without disability because they can’t walk around anymore.”

That’s wrong. Every people with disability definitely have the rights same as everyone else.
So, we must encourage them and keep advocating for the rights of people with disability like me, Jack.

jack maki luganville

jack maki luganville