Man overcomes the odds to make family proud

Nothing stood in the way of Iite ‘Ite’ Fa’alili Lemalu when it comes his puruit to achieve his goals in life. 

Disability failed to dampen the spirit of Ite who graduated from the University of Auckland this week with a Diploma in Arts, Specialising in Media, Film and Television Studies. 

Ite is visually impaired in both eyes. Despite this, the 38-year-old did persevered.

“My biggest challenge is that I am visually impaired in both eyes,” he told the Weekend Observer.  

“This is a disability that I have had as a baby, and as an infant I was not fully aware of my lack of sight or that I was disadvantaged from others until I was around other children at school.”

Ite is the son of Augagana I’ite Lemalu of Matautu, Lefaga and Falelatai  and Luaipouomalo Siaki Lolani from Utuali’i, Sale’imoa and Faleasiu. 

Ite also holds a Bachelor of Music, from the University of Otago. 

He told the Samoa Observer that growing up his family supported him throughout his journey. 

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“I grew up in a close knit community in Mount Wellington, Auckland, New Zealand where my mother and three older siblings established an understanding with neighbours, friends and the school community about to my visual impairment.”

 Ite also spoke about his Uni days. 

“In my experience at University, people throughout campus have shown courtesy and have been accommodating towards me – that’s been a highlight." 

“I know that this may not be the case for others who have a disability beyond in the university campus and beyond,” said Ite. 

He further noted that skills coming out of his recent studies have primarily been in writing and research.  

“I have a keen interest in applying these skills into serving my local community, the wider community and in particularly to help those with disabilities."  

“I am blessed to be doing exactly this in my role as Intern Project Coordinator for the University of Auckland’s Office of the Chief Digital Officer, Student First Programme where my skills are used to serving students with Disabilities and Pasifika students,” he said.

He told the Samoa Observer, he studied for a year for his Graduate Diploma at the University of Auckland. 

“My undergraduate degree in Music from the University of Otago allowed me to get cross credited into stage 3, the final year."  

“I was challenged, briefly –coming from a different background."  

“It was like learning a new culture and language at an accelerate level, it took a while for me to adapt to the terminologies.”

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