SINE Kape is a 50 year old Yuri man who now lives with visual impairment although he was born sighted in Molgime-Kaimine village among the gorges of the Gumine District of Simbu Province.
In the mid-1970s, when Sine was a teenager, there was tribal fighting around his village and he migrated with his parents to find a better place to live near the Highlands Highway. They settled at Miunde on the border of Jiwaka and Simbu provinces.
After some years, he got married to a woman called Betty from Kumbal in Jiwaka. In 1995, there was a tribal fight between Betty’s clan and a neighbouring clan and, when Sine went to war in support of his in-laws, he was shot by a member of the enemy clan.
He was rushed to Kundiawa hospital and. after surgery, the doctor advised him that his eyesight could not be saved and he was declared legally blind. He went back to Miunde and lived at home guided by his wife and children.
Sine also had strong faith in Christ and encouragement from his nuclear family and the Evangelical Brotherhood Church leaders.
In 2008, Phillip Kai, a community based rehabilitation officer, registered Sine as an official client of Mingende Callan Services Special Education Resource Center (SERC).
Then, in 2011, Christofel Blinden Mission–New Zealand Aid provided a livelihood project for disabled persons and Mingende Callan SERC was to facilitate the project under my coordination for clients in Simbu.
Fourteen clients with various disabilities were selected to receive financial education training; Sine Kape was one of them.
They each received K300 worth of goods. Sine Kape, with the support of his wife Betty, started with 20 litres of kerosene, a carton of cooking oil and flex cards. He then rented a trade store built of semi-permanent materials at Kumbagl on the Highlands Highway at the border of Jiwaka and Simbu provinces.
Unfortunately after two months of operation, some bandits ransacked the store and stole the week’s takings along with stock for sale. Sine and Betty were shocked and closed the business.
Hearing the news, another store owner at Kumbagl Market asked if Sine would be interested in renting his building. Sine and Betty had some money hidden in their house and agreed.
By August 2013, when I monitored the project, I learned that Sine and Betty had progressed from retail to bulk sales. I was amazed to see cartons of soft drinks, noodles, bags of rice and flour and other stuff packed to capacity. Sine also had a retail outlet on the other side of the building.
I discovered that Sine had made over K15,000 in a year. But the biggest challenge was that he did not have a bank account as he did not know how to open one. He also reported that the building owner called in anytime to ask for rent as there was no written agreement.
Towards the end of 2013, I brought Sine and Betty to Ambumangre Micro-Credit Scheme to open an account. Sine and Betty deposited about K5,000 after the officers explained the terms and conditions.
When asked what long term plans and dreams he had, Sine Kape said that he would like to buy a piece of land along the highway or in an urban centre to build a permanent house to live in.
He wants to use a section of the building to operate a trade store so he can pay school fees for his children to get a better education and look after his properties and Betty and himself when they grow older.