“We want to spark a movement to increase accessibility to essential services in rural areas and drive more interest among other people to do the same. Our ultimate vision is for a better quality of life for all Papua New Guineans.”
JCU Biomedical student and founder of KumulCare, Pala Leka
Pala is in the final year of his Bachelor of Biomedical Sciences and his passion for health care shines into every aspect of his life. He also works as a disability support worker in addition to running KumulCare.
Pala’s idea for the organisation sprung to mind while doing disability support work. “I was working in Townsville and one of my clients had received a new wheelchair, and so the old one was going to be discarded,” Pala says. “But I could see there was nothing really wrong with it. It probably just needed a few minor repairs to be safe and mechanically sound – and that was the light bulb!”
“So, I reached out to different businesses and services and they were all willing to donate secondhand equipment to us,” Pala says. With the equipment stored in his parent’s garage, Pala began to slowly get it refurbished.
In March 2021, KumulCare was able to deliver 24 refurbished pieces of assistive technology over to Keapara Village in Papua New Guinea with the help of the YWAM Medical Ships.
But for Pala, that was just the beginning. He, along with other members of KumulCare, plan to integrate training and advocacy into their delivery model. This will ensure that health and community workers in their target villages are equipped with a basic understanding of assistive technologies and are educated on ways to create more inclusive environments.
“The ultimate goal would be that we can give each individual assistive devices that are specifically catered to their needs,” Pala says. “For our first project, we provided a more general batch of equipment for people facing mobility challenges, to use as they need. But in future projects, this support will be individualised.”