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The Government of New Zealand and Australia together with Montfort Technical Institute donated assistance to people living with disabilities in Tonga.

Radio & TV Tonga, Nuku’alofa, 2/11/2018

The assistance were carving equipment from New Zealand funded by the Government of Australia through the Tonga Skills Program.

Katrina Ma’u from the office of the New Zealand’s High Commissioner says they are working with related stakeholders in the Region to assist the people living with disabilities in the region, Tonga included.

Altus Resource Trust is an NGO working with other organizations in the Pacific that provides services to children and adults with disabilities. They have physio-therapist, occupational therapist, speech language therapist, wheelchair technicians and nurses involved in training field workers and health professionals. They have worked often with the MANGO TREE and other organizations here in Tonga. When Altus Resource Trust heard that some people with disabilities had some training with Tonga Skills in handicraft to improve their skills and their outcome, Altus Trust was very excited. They know that earning your income is very important for people with disabilities as this help support their families, as well as showing others what they are capable of. However many people with disabilities do not have the start-up money to buy the equipment they need for many of this handicrafts. So Altus Trust asked what was needed and then offered to buy new equipment in New Zealand and ship it to Tonga with other items that were sending to MANGO TREE.

Meanwhile, Australia’s High Commissioner to Tonga – H.E. Andrew Ford elaborated on the Tonga Skills program.

We’re all working together to improve the situation for people with disabilities in Tonga. As you might have heard, Tonga Skills is an Australian government funded-program that has one of its main priorities – the inclusion of people with disabilities in training and in income-producing skill development. And some of the people here today understand I’ve attended at least two or three of the handicraft and business training activities of Tonga Skill and have added to the range of handicraft products that they can produce. One of the first sessions done by Tonga Skills was in the middle of last year and it was on pearl shell carving. There were 4 people with disabilities included in that activity. And since that time, most of these people have gone on to increase their incomes in a different handicraft items that they can produce. And the Australian government is committed to finding ways to increase the visibility, income and skills of people with disabilities.

The Principal of Montfort Technical Institute – Brother Cruz Mesias was also part of those who initiated the assistance by availing one of their classrooms to be used by those living with disabilities.

Matt 25:40 says, I tell you whatever you do, to this least important brothers of mine,  you did it for me. Your Honorable High Commissioner of Australia and Tonga Skills and New Zealand representatives, you prove today what your people are doing is not for us but for the people of God. My sincere thanks to Tonga Skills for giving us the opportunity to partake in your ministry to reach out to the most vulnerable of the society. I wish and hope that this project will support the differently abled student to have the better future.

Two members from various Person’s Disability Organization, Siaosi Vaka and Ti’o Kalavi thanked the New Zealand and Australia government, also the Montfort Technical Institute for their kind assistance.

© Radio and Television Tonga News