Call for youth to play active role in ensuring social inclusion

|     Ishan Ibrahim     |

A PROJECT leader of a youth movement that strives to encourage all members of society to treat everyone as equal regardless of their perceived shortcomings – be they physical or psychological – has expressed his confidence that a society where everyone will be accepted will soon be a reality.

Leader of Brave Project Awangku Mohd Aiman bin Pengiran Haji Md Zaman said the youth of today must play an active role in ensuring that everyone is included in society and that no one is left out, regardless of race, physical or mental disability, or societal status.

Brave is a youth movement under the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI), a signature programme of the United States’ Government to strengthen leadership development and networking in Southeast Asia.

Co-founders of Brave include Farizah Bahirah binti Haji Mohd Yussof, Khalisah Bahriah binti Haji Ibrahim, Hamzah bin Kamis, Nurizzati Balqis binti Haji Hailen, Fathin Khairunnisa binti Mat Japar, Norsuziyani binti Abdullah, and Awangku Mohd Aiman bin Pengiran Haji Md Zaman himself.

“Our youth movement Brave,” Awangku Mohd Aiman said, “has made it our priority to engage the youth and encourage them to have social interaction with people with autism, visually-impaired persons and people with special needs, so that these groups of people can lead their lives with more confidence and learn to be more independent, and in general, more happy”.

BRAVE Project Leader Awangku Mohd Aiman bin Pengiran Haji Md Zaman. – ISHAN IBRAHIM

Brave’s recent ‘Capability Beyond Capacity: Acceptance for Nurturing an Inclusive Society for Everyone’ programme was deemed a success by many, with the event featuring a talk by a visually-impaired person who shared the experience and challenges he faces on a regular basis.

A recent trend is seeing more people becoming more aware on the plight of people with special needs due to the constant stream of news and information online, Awangku Mohd Aiman explained, but these feelings of sympathy “end there and do not develop further”.

“Thus, no action is made towards alleviating the plight or problems these people are going through; instead, people just feel sorry for them,” he said.

“Let us take action with empathy, and let’s be friends with these groups of people. At least we can have a chat with them, and that is not too difficult.”

Awangku Mohd Aiman noted that Brave’s mission is to increase public awareness towards the issues faced by special needs individuals, so that they can make a meaningful contribution in the community and improve self-esteem.

The movement hopes that through the implementation of the ‘Capability Beyond Capacity: Acceptance for Nurturing an Inclusive Society for Everyone’ programme, it can improve society’s perception toward people with different abilities, changing the general feeling toward them from sympathy to empathy.