People with disabilities in Papua New Guinea

In January 2012 while I was working in Port Moresby one local NGO asked me to help them with documenting life of disabled people. Unfortunately I didn’t have much time for this project, hopefully I will be able to help them with the visual documentation of their work in close future.

Before I’ve been contacted by that NGO, I met Janetta Douglas in Port Moresby, an Australian woman, who helps disabled people in PNG. She took me to the Pari village, the home a small community of handicapped people.

Disabled residents of the Pari village during their daily walk. Papua New Guinea.

Pari village is situated on the south coast of PNG, few kilometres to the east from Port Moresby. It is a very nice and quite traditional Papuan village on the water, inhabited by Motu speakers.

Kemaea Mase (17), sits on a wheelchair in her house, Pari village. She was born healthy, but at the age of four she became paralysed. By the age of 16, she was always laying on the floor of her house, until she has got a wheelchair, donated to her family. Hovewer, Kemaea still can’t go to the street, as there is no ramp to her house, which is lifted from the water on high poles. Pari village, Papua New Guinea.

More than 20 disabled people live in Pari, many of them do not have wheelchairs and can’t leave their homes for years. But even for those lucky ones, who received help from the NGO’s or altruists, moving in Pari is very difficult. The roads don’t have pavement and there are no ramps for the wheelchairs.

Guba Frank, 16, became disable after he had meningitis in infancy. He doesn’t have a wheelchair and spend all days lying on the floor of his mother’s house. Pari village, Papua New Guinea.

Janetta Douglas raises funds in Australia to bring Pari residents wheelchairs and other aid. If you wish to help people PNG disabled people, please contact her at Your help will be very much appreciated!

42-year-old Karoho Donisi, lives in a traditional Papuan house on the water in Pari village. In 2000 he had a spinal injury during a rugby game and became disabled. His dream is to get a smartphone with a Facebook app to be always connected with his frends.


  1. rnoemii

    Reblogged this on rnoemii and commented:
    The picture shows timeliness because of the electronic wheelchair. We know electronic wheelchairs haven’t been around since years ago, so because of that we know the picture had to be recent. The photo did not seem to be biased because it does not look edited or cropped. The photographer took the shot and kept it as is. The photograph says a story because it shows the struggles some people are facing.

  2. travelerreport

    An emotional set of photos. It makes wonder about the (papuan) society. While there are so many things to do to improve the lifes of the disabled ( but also the lifes of those who are not paralysed), some dream of a smartphone. Is it futility ? Are they victim of the western consumerism ( even in Papua !),…or is it because dreaming is more easy than changing, than improving the society ? Even for people who were once known as formidable fighters !

    • Vlad Sokhin

      Thanks! The man on a wheelchair simply wants to be connected with his friends the only way he can do it from his remote house. I don’t think that it’s futility.

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