Ms Cathleen Alua recently graduated with a Masters of International Public Health at the University of Sydney.

“There is nothing more satisfying than achieving against all odds. I’ve done it and so can you,” says Ms Alua with confidence.

Ms Alua, who hails from Southern Highlands, won an ADS scholarship as an open category applicant to study at Sydney’s prestigious university under an 18 month Health program in 2007. Ms Alua says this scholarship has equipped and empowered her to visualize health issues in a global perspective.

Upon her return from studies, Ms Alua says she was amazed at the number of people, especially women, who approached her to offer their congratulations and tell her that if she did it, so can they. “Most of those friends of mine are still trapped in the same situation I was in before going for my studies; suppressed and having very little confidence in themselves. Foreign aid targeting the development of human resources is vital for the development of a county such as PNG. My opportunity to study in Australia has had a huge impact on my personal life, as an Individual, and as a health catalyst.”

As a registered nurse by profession, holding a degree in Nursing Administration before going down to Australia for her Master’s, Ms Alua has had vast experience working in the health field, in the Government sector, as well as in Private and non government organizations. Ms Alua explains that as a single mother raising two children on her own, the prospect of beating the odds seemed impossible. She was constantly discouraged by others. But her advice is to take the challenge by the horns and believe in achieving the impossible, because nothing is impossible if you have faith in yourself, and God.

Ms Alua is among a number of Papua New Guineans currently returning home after completing their studies in Australia. At a recent ‘Meet & Greet’ luncheon hosted by the association for returning scholars, Executive member Mr Thomas Willie commented that PNG-AAA is well placed to ensure that the association, its provincial chapters, and most importantly its individual members, are ready to take advantage of emerging professional opportunities and contribute to PNG’s development.