Mother with Two Kids Overcomes all odds to become a Medical Doctor in PNG

 Thanks to  OilSearch Foundation Scholarships, Single Mother overcomes all odds to become a Medical Doctor in Papua New Guinea. Not only was I to prove my worth, I also wanted my story to be a testament to the young women in my village, that if I can do it, so can they.” Shalom

Growing up and living in a rural village situated in the Central Province of Papua New Guinea, Shalom Nouairi, was aware of the complexities of accessing healthcare from an early age. 

Being a village girl, Shalom often saw people from marginalised communities struggle to access basic services and so challenged herself to become a doctor and help people. 

Shalom Nouairi, Resident Doctor - OSF Scholarship recipient at Mendi General Hospital
Shalom Nouairi, Resident Doctor - OSF Scholarship recipient at Mendi General Hospital. Photo credit : OilSearchFoundation 

In 2015, Shalom began her education journey by enrolling in the University of Papua New Guinea Medical School.  This journey was difficult at times, being a single mum with two young kids, she worked hard juggling family commitments and medical studies. Shalom tells us her story.

“In Rigo, where I grew up, I quickly became aware of the challenges of living in a remote community, but I was determined to achieve my goal.”

“I am privileged to have a family who believed in me. My eldest sister did all she could to financially support me to complete studies, and in return I gave my best to do well in school.”

“There were times when I felt like giving up because I did not want to burden my elder sister with my tuition fees, but because my family had faith in me, they somehow managed to support me.”

“In 2019, I learnt of the Oil Search Foundation (OSF) Scholarships. This was an opportunity I really wanted, as it meant easing the financial burden on my sister. I applied for the program and was granted a scholarship. This was my answered prayer.”

“The support from OSF enabled me to successfully complete my 5th year in medical school. But the help did not end there. Through OSF’s work in partnership with Southern Highlands Provincial Health Authority (SH PHA), I was offered a placement in the Mendi Hospital, to undergo my residency program.” 

“When I was told that I had been placed there as a resident doctor, I was quite nervous at first. My challenge was adapting to a new culture but at the same time understanding how to manage the challenges of working away from family and home. However, I am grateful to OSF and SH PHA which ensured I settled in well. Mendi is now home to me.”

“During my first week, I was told by SH PHA management that I was their first female resident doctor. I was excited but also felt challenged. Not only was I to prove my worth, I also wanted my story to be a testament to the young women in my village, that if I can do it, so can they.”

“Having been moved away from my comfort zone to a place where you are mentally and physically challenged, has made me strong but also appreciative of life in general. Thank you OSF for allowing me to see and value life.”

OSF Executive Manager Karlyne Pukaikia on her recent field trip to Mendi was impressed with how Shalom has adapted to life in Southern Highlands. 

“Seeing her passionately serve the people who are sick and facing challenges brings great satisfaction, knowing that OSF Scholarships are impacting and changing lives. It is good to see that she is building her experience as a medical professional who can adapt to different working environments. We are so proud of her and many other scholarship recipients who have a heart to serve, regardless of the challenges they are faced with” adds Pukaikia.

Since 2018, OSF has managed 92 scholarships: most funded by OSL and some by partners. These scholarships have supported young Papua New Guineans who are now qualified doctors, teachers, nurses, midwives, accountants, geologists, and engineers and are contributing to Papua New Guinea’s development. 

Notice: The OIlSearch Foundation Scholarships for year 2021 is closed due to COVID-19. 

Article and Photo source : OilSearch Foundation 

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