National efforts in place to empower differently-abled

Brunei Darussalam continues to prioritise the well-being and welfare of people with different abilities in the country, and has implemented various initiatives to strengthen the participation of the differently-abled in the fields of employment, education and society.

Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Awang Haji Aminuddin Ihsan bin Pehin Orang Kaya Saiful Mulok Dato Seri Paduka Haji Abidin said this on the occasion of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities 2019.

The on-going initiatives include

– The provision of disability pension allowance,

– Regulations under the Building Control Order through the Different Abilities Design Guidelines to ensure all new buildings provide facilities and access for the differently-abled.

– Programmes and opportunities to undergo skills development courses that will enable them to find employment or start their own businesses, including through promoting and marketing products made by persons with different abilities, and providing entrepreneurial spaces for the differently-abled and the elderly in premises including government buildings.

– Inclusive communication programmes, such as through the implementation of Braille and mobility workshops and sign language-based workshops, earlier this year.

– Celebrating the achievements of para athletes in various prestigious overseas competitions, such as winning gold at the 2019 World Para Bowling Tour Championship in the Philippines on November 14-21, 2019, as well as winning four medals at the Arafura Sports Games, Australia April 2019. Brunei Darussalam hopes to include national athletes in the future SEA Games.

– Plans to build a building complex for persons with different abilities that will provide space and facilities for work, study and conducting recreational activities in a comfortable and appropriate environment for the differently-abled.

National efforts to advocate and empower the differently-abled in Brunei Darussalam is carried out through a “whole-of-nation” approach in collaboration with other government agencies, non-governmental bodies and strategic partners.

In this regard, the Council for the Welfare of Persons with Different Abilities (MKOKU) and all non-governmental organisations also play an important role in educating and raising public awareness to support the rights of the differently-abled, especially through activities such as commemorating World Autism Awareness Day and national charity runs.

Moving forward, the stage of development of persons with different abilities in the country is given due focus, whereby Brunei is conducting a survey of persons with different abilities in two phases.

The first phase is expected to gather information about the differently-abled employed in the government sector and the private sector, and the second will collect information on the involvement of the differently-abled in the community.

This effort is intended to further strengthen policies, support services and programmes towards the welfare of the differently-abled in Brunei.

“On the occasion of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, we must renew efforts to jointly work together through the whole-of-nation approach, and assist in improving the quality of life for those with different abilities and contribute to the development of society.

“Let us both celebrate and appreciate the contributions of those with different abilities in Brunei because they are also a valuable asset for achieving economic progress, well-being, family and social wealth of the nation in achieving our Brunei Vision 2035.

“We also extend our deep appreciation for the sacrifices of family members and the caregivers of the differently-abled, where the support of families and educators is invaluable in helping to motivate and guide the differently-abled to become more independent and resilient.

“Happy International Day of Persons with Disabilities to all persons with different abilities, as well as parents, caregivers and associations in Brunei Darussalam, and also all volunteers who support all persons with different abilties in Brunei,” the minister said.