An entry in The Crocodile Prize
PNG Chamber of Mines & Petroleum
Award for Essays & Journalism
GRIWO Kraembi hails from the Awin and Hore clans of Senamrai village in the Bige area of Kiunga, Western Province.
He is 38 years old and married to Betty from the Telefomin in Sandaun Province. Griwo and Betty have three kids, Ismael, Regina and Izrael.
Recently Griwo graduated with a Bachelor of Management from Divine Word University in Madang through its Flexible Learning Centre. Monday 3 March was a big day for him and Betty. Unfortunately, his beloved and hardworking parents were not able to witness his graduation as they had passed away some years ago.
Griwo was diagnosed with polio when he was one year old. The disease permanently immobilised both legs. Despite his disability, Griwo beat all the odds - being formally employed for more than 20 years and successfully graduating from one of the top universities in Papua New Guinea.
Growing up with his loving parents and four sisters, Griwo completed Grade 6 at Montfort Primary School in 1989; however he failed the national examinations.
In 1990, he re-enrolled at what is now Montfort Technical Secondary High School in Kiunga and completed Grade 10 in 1993 through the College of Distance Education administered by the Catholic mission.
St Gabriel’s Catholic brothers employed Griwo as administration clerk in 1994. He learnt to type using a manual typewriter and undertook general office tasks. After six weeks the brothers bought a computer for him to use.
In October 1998, Tawap Kamen Investment Ltd (TKI), a local contractor based in Tabubil, offered Griwo a job as general accounts officer and he worked there for 12 years.
Seeing the opportunity to advance himself as a professional manager, in 2010 he enrolled in the Bachelor of Management Program in the Faculty of Flexible Learning at Divine Word University.
TKI assisted him with tuition fees and related expenses. His current employer, West Maintenance Services, another locally owned company, also assisted him by paying his tuition fees at Divine Word University.
During this interview, Griwo expressed deep gratitude to his sponsors who were able to see his potential and invested in him.
So in March, Griwo was the proud recipient of a Bachelors Degree in Management. He had beaten all odds to make his dream a reality.
“Yes, it is possible for anyone like me to come this far and overcome the many challenges encountered by people with disabilities,” he said quietly.
“It is a dream but it needs hard work and perseverance.”
I thought of the old adage, “Where there is a will, there is a way”.
Griwo admitted he could hear the voices of his parents in his heart saying, “You can do it”.
Oh, how he wished they could be present on his graduation day to share this moment together.
Griwo’s story is a testament that anyone can achieve anything if you set your mind and heart to it.
Papua New Guinea is a land of opportunity. Despite who you are and where you are, you can make something out of nothing.
Consider Griwo who not only is disabled but had failed once at his formal education.
But he persevered until he finally graduated with a Bachelor of Management from a prestigious university. Where there is a will, there is certainly a way!
I thank Griwo Kraembi for giving me permission to release this story for public consumption, which he truly believes can be a source of inspiration and motivation for many disabled citizens of Papua New Guinea and the world.