Opening ceremony
Traditional dancing featured at the Opening Ceremony

The Tungaru Rehabilitation Service facility was officially opened on the 28th of August 2015 at an official event based at the new facility. Attendees to the ceremony included members of the Kiribati health and disability community, as well as stakeholders from government and private sector involved with the construction and fit out of the new facility.

The ceremony was opened with a traditional Kiribati song and dance by a local dance group. A representative each from Australian DFAT, the Ministry of Health and Medical Services and ISPO ANMS provided a formal address to the crowd. The TRS team were acknowledged for their outstanding efforts in successfully driving the project forward. The importance of the rehabilitation service was highlighted, emphasising the role of assistive devices in enabling people with disabilities to participate in community life.

The Australian High Commissioner to Kiribati and a representative from the Kiribati Ministry of Health and Medical Services cut the ribbon to the building.

Attendees were welcomed to an official tour of the premises. TRS team members introduced the purpose of each room. The prosthetics & orthotics component of the building was a highlight of the tour, the tools, machinery and equipment in place and on show.

The tour of the facility provided an opportunity to promote the new capacity of the service as result of the installed equipment. The TRS prosthetist detailed the process for local fabrication of prostheses and the function of each piece of machinery.

After the tour, attendees gathered together to share a meal. The floor was opened for attendees to address the crowd. Representatives from local disabled people’s organisation Ta Toa Matoa (translated to the ‘The Strong Giant’) informed the crowd of the barriers that people with disabilities encounter in participating in everyday life. Ta Toa Matoa’s powerful message emphasised the rehabilitation service’s contribution towards helping persons with disabilities overcome these barriers.