Theresia attended Noolarami Primary School. She lives with her mother, two brothers and two sisters. Their father has left the family, and the chairman of their village is looking after them.
Theresia started Kipok Girls’ Secondary Boarding School in January 2011, and was being sponsored by Mandy & Barrie Heward, whose children attended Acklam Grange School.
She completed her first year in December 2011, but in the middle of 2012 she stopped attending school. Because her family lived 70 Km. from Meserani, it took some time to find out what had happened. According to her neighbours she was pregnant, and her family had taken her away.
What had actually happened to Theresia was that her father had forced her to marry a man in his fifties, (Theresia was sixteen at the time). This man lived 150 Km. from Theresia’s home, and for several months she had tried on many occasions to run away and find her way back home. On each occasion she did not get very far, and was taken back to her husband. However, in January 2013 she had actually managed to walk the 150 Km., from village to village, back to her mother, where she was hidden for a week. Unfortunately for Theresia her mother planned to return her to her husband at the end of the week, and Theresia’s incredible efforts and resilience appeared to have all been in vain. Her opportunity to be rescued came when an aunt sent Theresia to a local kiosk to top up a mobile ‘phone with some credit. Theresia put the credit on the ‘phone, but then telephoned Loth Naparana at Meserani literally crying out for help. Loth was actually with two trustees in the Monduli mountains at the time, so Theresia had to walk another 70 Km. to meet them the next day.
A meeting was held with local councillors in order to satisfy any legal issues, and they agreed to allow the trustees to take Theresia back to Kipok Boarding School. They also stipulated that she was not allowed to go back to her parents during the school holidays, so arrangements were made for her to stay at the Meserani Orphanage at these times.
The next day Theresia had to be taken to Monduli Hospital for various health checks, (all proved negative), and then she had be taken shopping for all the basic essentials and necessities that she no longer had. One day later she returned to school, and a warm reception from her former teachers and classmates was arranged.
View the short video of Theresia’s amazing story below: