Persons with disabilities (PWD) living in Port Moresby have raised their concern at the lack of access to buildings and services in the National Capital District (NCD).

Speaking at the inaugural Alumni Café held by the PNG Australia Alumni Association (PNGAAA), Mr Ross Tito, Program Manager of the PNG Assembly of Disabled Persons, emphasized the need for greater consultation that addressed the needs of persons with disabilities.

“Currently there is no PWD representation on the NCD Council (NCDC) Building Board,” said Mr Tito.

“If the board had PWD representation this would go a long way to ensuring that all Building Board related matters in NCDC cater for the needs of PWDs.”

Participants at the event put forward a number of recommendations for improving access for people living with disabilities in Port Moresby. These suggestions were communicated to two of the event’s key speakers, Mr Lou Pipi, Building Manager at NCDC and Mr Peter Simbakua, Policy Coordinator at the National Department of Youth, Religion & Community Development (NDYRCD).

Ms Mary Ikupu a wheel chair user who is a member of the Central Province Disabled Persons Association, commended the PNGAAA for hosting a discussion that addressed some of the critical issues that she and other PWDs living in NCD face.

“I was very happy to have had the opportunity to air my concerns directly to representatives from NCDC,” said Ms Ikupu.

“I believe that if we can strengthen the capacity of our fellow PWDs to advocate for better inclusion and to actively participate on boards, then we can help build a stronger society that acknowledges people of different abilities.”

Ms Ikupu’s proposal for strengthening the advocacy capacity of PWDs was one of the top five ideas put forward by participants at the event. The five ideas will be documented in a report to be submitted by the PNGAAA to the NDYRCD and other stakeholders.

The event was well attended by the PWD community and stakeholders from PNG Government agencies, NCDC and NGO’s.

Alumni Café is a new initiative of PNGAAA designed to stimulate dialogue and action to support positive development in PNG.