#IDPwD stories: I now look at life from a different dimension
In the final story of our series for International Day of People with Disability featuring participants in our programs, Team Up meets Kusitina Matairatu from Fiji.
When Kusitina Matairatu was approached by her teacher, Ms Osborne, to take part in Get into Rugby PLUS, her first reaction was, ‘yes, I am finally included in sport!’.
Being a wheelchair user Kusitina had been offered few opportunities to play any sport in the past, so the chance to learn rugby union was exciting. Once engaged in the program, she found that it had far more to offer than just rugby, with the life skills component being a life-changing experience for her.
During a talanoa (participatory discussion) session with her teacher Kusitina reflected on the positive impact the program has had on her life. “I now look at life from a different dimension, mainly positive,” explains Kusitina. “I used to have self-pity that I was not physically able to participate in things. But joining the program has changed that. I realise that anything is possible if you put your whole heart into it. It is really overwhelming for me, and I am thankful to Get into Rugby PLUS.
“My life story before joining the program can be described as always feeling sorry for myself for being confined to a wheelchair. I was depressed and even had suicidal thoughts at times. I had feelings of hatred towards my mother for giving birth to me. I always blamed her that it was her fault. She must have done something to make me this way. I am full of envy of my siblings and peers for being able to call themselves ‘normal’,” adds Kusitina.
“During my involvement in the Get into Rugby PLUS program I have come to realise that I can do anything despite the condition of my body. My coach has done a great job, simplifying some of the rugby skills to suit my conditions so that I can play with everyone else. I am enjoying school and my relationship with my parents and siblings is also great. I realise now that I am one of the lucky ones who can participate in the program despite my condition, compared to other children out there who are in worse situations.
“The changes are very important to me as they have boosted my morale and helped me to look at life positively. I have grown to love my family, especially my mother. I now appreciate life and know that my life has a purpose,” she adds.
Kusitina’s teacher and coach shares her feelings about the transformation. “Seeing her happy and having fun with her peers, especially during our sessions, is a morale boost for me,” explains Ms Osborne. “She brings a positive vibe to the sessions and games, and she is now able to socialise with her peers, concentrate more in class, and is always looking forward to coming to school.”