A 35-year-old ex-convict is among 43 participants taking part in the PNG Fashion and Design Week Festival Workshop in Milne Bay.
In 2006 Steven Tabogani was involved in a fight that caused the death of one of his street mates.
He was arrested and remanded at the Giligili Correctional Service.
He attempted to escape from prison but was shot in his knee. He was brought back to prison where he served his term till 2017.
Though a changed man when he got out, he couldn’t get a job.
“With no job experience and history, I was not able to get a job, so I have been trying my best to get by,” says Tobagani.
Steven has a 13-year-old daughter whose Mother left when Steven was still in prison and he wants to take care of her daughter.
“I prayed, to God to help me find a job or a means to earn an income so that I could be the father my daughter deserves,” says Tabogani.
“And I believe, been invited to be a participant in this workshop is God’s plan for my life, I want to design and go into the market of fashion, start-up an SME and sell products I design and also help market products of others who are ex-convict’s like me,” he said.
Tabogani’s design is a walking stick, whilst explaining why he chose a design that has a walking stick in it, he said that the walking stick was his life story, of mistakes made, lessons learned, and the need to go on and to never give up.
He hopes to encourage others who have served time in prison and unable to get a job to look into options of starting an SME and be self-employed.
“If they won’t employ us, let’s employ ourselves, everyone deserves a second chance.”
“Be patient and wait on the Lord, he will never forsake us, and will always make a way,” he said.
*Picture courtesy of PNG Fashion and Design Week