Careers

Against All Odds, Nina Now Stands Tall

She did not allow her disability to be a barrier in her achieving what she had set out to achieve and that was to prove her critics wrong. `
09 Aug 2019 15:12
Against All Odds, Nina Now Stands Tall
Nina Tuwere with her parents Sereana and Ilaitia Tuwere.

Having to crawl around the first eight years of her life, Nina Tuwere rose amongst some of the biggest hurdles in life to become the young woman she is today.

Originally from Suweni, Cakaudrove in Vanua Levu, Ms Tuwere was diagnosed with cerebral palsy when she was one-years-old.

The condition disabled her and she could not walk the first eight years of her life.

Nina as she is affectionately known, began her primary school crawling around classrooms and school premises of the Lautoka Special School.

“It all started in this little school at the Hospital Road in Lautoka 18 years ago, I had to crawl around the school compound because I was never a fan of wheelchairs,” Ms Tuwere said

“As a result of my crawling my mother had to patch my uniforms nearly every week and my knees were always covered with cuts and bruises,” she said

“I was never ashamed of myself because I was always keen to learn. I wanted to know a lot of things and I did love to read, for me reading was like going on an adventure.

“Growing up, my parents did not treat or isolate me like one with disabilities, if we had to catch the bus, they would take me, if we had to go shopping, they would carry me and if I did something wrong, they would discipline me.”

This she said was something that encouraged her not to be discouraged by the negative mindset people had about children with special needs.

Even though her condition turned around for the better following her surgery in Australia when she was eight-years-old; she still faces difficulties at times walking.

She did not allow her disability to be a barrier in her achieving what she had set out to achieve and that was to prove her critics wrong.

“Throughout I have stood the test of time, I’ve fallen, cried and complained about so many things but God used all these situations to build up my endurance and toughened me up to face any obstacle,” she said.

“I have been blessed to have been acquainted with all kinds of people, those that have helped build me up and also those that have torn me down with their criticisms.”

Ms Tuwere said while in school she dreamt to one day prove all her critics wrong.

After attending Lautoka Special School Ms Tuwere enrolled at Jasper Williams High School of which she described the transition as one of the most terrifying experience.

“Going into an all-girls school where they were physically well abled was not easy for me, I was happy with getting into high school but I was terrified at the same time because I had to learn to cope with the learning pace and how to blend in,” she said.

“After my first three weeks in Jasper we were told to sit for our commercial studies short test, which not only was I the last person to finish but I also failed it and I had to face the consequences.

“I had the famous duster from our 3N commerce teacher to whom I promised never to fail a single commercial test or exam ever again.

“I stood by my promise; it made me love the subject that shaped me into the career I now love.”

Though the challenge in transition, Ms Tuwere proved many critics wrong by performing exceptionally well in school.

“After two years in Jasper I enrolled into the prominent Xavier College as my father was posted to Natutu Village, Ba.

“I completed Forms Five to Seven at Xavier and managed to score very good marks in all my subjects.”

During her early years ... From left: sister Alena, mother Sereana and Nina Tuwere.

During her early years … From left: sister Alena, mother Sereana and Nina Tuwere.

JOURNEY TO GRADUATING WITH A DEGREE

After XC she enrolled into the University of the South Pacific in 2013 to pursue her Bachelor of Commerce majoring in Accounting and Economics.

“Although it took me two extra years to finally wear the brown hat and gown it has all been worth it and I am grateful for God’s ordained timing.

“Graduating with a Bachelor of Commerce Degree from USP a year ago was a dream come true to me and my family.

“It was not an easy journey to finally wear the brown hat with all that I had to endure growing up.

“But the mentality to prove others wrong has never left me.

“There were two people whose life stories encouraged me achieve what I want to achieve: one was famous author Hellen Keller (she was blind and deaf) and famous songwriter Fanny Crosby (she was blind and is the writer of the wonderful hymn Pass Me Not O Gentle Savior (Jisu Au Kerea Tiko).

“From one who was crawling the first eight years of my life and now standing tall testifies the goodness of God.”

Nina Tuwere on her graduation day during the USP Graduation in March 2018.

Nina Tuwere on her graduation day during the USP Graduation in March 2018.

ADVICE

Ms Tuwere said: “I want to remind my brothers and sisters that we all have our own disability but I want to share three important things that I have learnt through the years.

“Never despise the people and situations God put you in; always honour God in everything you do and always be patient and wait for God’s timing.”

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