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 yesterday highlighted the need for a change in public mindset toward people with different abilities (OKU), shifting from sympathy to empathy to achieve the aspiration of His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam.
The minister made this call during the opening of the 5th Workshop on Braille, Orientation and Mobility at the Darul Imtiyaz Hall of Pusat Bahagia Brunei-Muara District.
“Inclusivity is not only about the people with different abilities, but also community’s understanding of OKU. We need to continuously educate the public on what OKU can do and provide a platform to work with OKU.”
“I don’t think OKU want sympathy. They want empathy. We need to change our mindset. It’s all about giving empathy to OKU so we can move forward together to achieve His Majesty’s aspiration.”
A total of 25 participants are attending the workshop, the first for this year. The workshop on Braille, Orientation and Mobility was introduced in 2019, with four workshops.
The minister expressed hope that the Brunei Darussalam National Association of the Blind (BDNAB) would conduct training at its premises, and not focus only on Pusat Bahagia.
BDNAB Deputy President Izan Safre bin Radat pointed out that on April 11, 2016, Brunei Darussalam became the 163rd country to ratify the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).
“For orientation and mobility, currently there are no specific tactile footpath for the blind. This is very important for the community to understand the basic way of orientation and mobility, so that they can help OKU to go about their daily lives inclusively in the country, such as at buildings, mosques, shopping complexes, schools, parks and others. The provision of lifts that come with Braille buttons and voices are very good and can help the blind in the country,” he said.
The workshop is organised by the BDNAB with cooperation from the Community Development Department and Youth and Sports Department under the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports; Special Education Unit under the Ministry of Education; Religious Special Education Unit (UPKU) of the Islamic Studies Department under the Ministry of Religious Affairs; and Ophthalmology Department under the Ministry of Health. This demonstrates the whole of nation approach and close cooperation between BDNAB with government agencies in playing a vital role to address issues of people with different abilities.
The ceremony also saw Bank Islam Brunei Darussalam (BIBD) presenting a Braille to BDNAB.BIBD Government Relations and Protocol Advisor Pengiran Haji Suhardi bin Pengiran Haji Nordin presented the Braille to the minister.