| Wani Roslan |
SPECIAL needs individuals and those with Down Syndrome should receive more attention from their family and community. Although children with Down Syndrome may have hard time learning, they also need to be given a fair opportunity to be integrated into society.
These were highlighted by the guest of honour, Datin Paduka Hajah Adina binti Othman, the Deputy Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports, during the launching of Fun Walk 2014, themed ‘Lead Us Towards Excellence’ and organised by the Down Syndrome Association. The event took place at Jalan Menteri Besar Recreational Park in Berakas.
According to the deputy minister, children with Down Syndrome should be encouraged to see themselves on par with others in the employment sector. With proper guidance and exposure, they will learn to perform various tasks and be as successful as others.
“We are working towards eliminating any obstacles and barriers to create a society that is accessible to all. Hence, the Government of His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam recognises people with special needs as equally important in an inclusive society who can contribute to the national development,” she added.
She also stressed that people with special needs have the right to be part of an inclusive society and it is one of the responsibilities of relevant agencies including civil society to provide them with a suitable environment for their growth.
“Through the Action Plan which has been implemented under the Special Committee for Issues of Senior Citizens and People with Special Needs, the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports has outlined measures to be taken to achieve an inclusive society. Ten major aspects have been identified including advocacy, shelter, health, education, employment, financial security, participation, volunteering, access to infrastructure and transport.”
She also urged the community particularly family members and guardians who have or have to take care of children with Down Syndrome to play their roles in guiding and strengthening the talents and abilities of the children to help them perform various tasks according to their abilities.
More than a hundred individuals participated in the Fun Walk 2014 including the President of the Down Syndrome Association, Ustazah Hajah Siti Zaliha binti Haji Abu Salim. There was an aerobics session prior to the fun walk.
Among the objectives were to raise awareness on Down Syndrome to the public while also raising funds for the Down Syndrome Association.