One of Vanuatu’s first disability fieldworkers has returned to the work he is passionate about thanks to a grant from the Australian Government-funded Stretem Rod Blong Jastis program to the Vanuatu Society for Disabled People (VSDP).
Arthur Simrai is an exceptional role model for people with disabilities as a fieldworker, actor, sportsman and election contestant.
Born in the village of Walarano in Malekula, Arthur caught polio as a small child that completely restricted his leg movement. Arthur’s parents initially refused to send him to the local school which was around 1 km away. Fortunately, a priest encouraged them to carry Arthur to school every day for two year until a wheelchair was donated from overseas.
“If I hadn’t gone to school, I think I’d still be stuck inside the house. Education is the key to independence for people with disabilities (PWD). It means they can provide for their families, not depend on them,” he said.