Empowering special needs families

Aziz Idris

With sights set on creating a platform to empower special needs families, Elfera Health and Nursing Care Sdn Bhd in collaboration with Progresif hosted the IMPIAN Special Needs Resource Fair and Forum at the Indoor Stadium in Berakas yesterday.

Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Haji Aminuddin Ihsan bin Pehin Orang Kaya Saiful Mulok Dato Seri Paduka Haji Abidin participated.

This is the first event of its kind in Brunei, gathering healthcare professionals, experts and parents of children with special needs together for a forum on how to cope with challenges related to caring for differently abled and medically complex children.

The event was held in conjunction with International Day of Persons with Disabilities and supported by the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports (MCYS) and Ministry of Health (MoH).

IMPIAN, which stands for ‘Inclusivity Means Purposefully Including Another person with special Needs,’ invited of speakers comprising clinical psychologist Pengiran Hartini binti Pengiran Haji Tahir; paediatrician Dr Hajah Mawarni binti Haji Abdul Hamid; speech, language and certified autism specialist Wati binti Haji Bujang; occupational therapist Venessa Liew; physiotherapist Cheryl Keasberry and paediatric ophthalmologist Dr Helena Hurairah, who also moderated a discussion with three parents of special needs children.

Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Haji Aminuddin Ihsan bin Pehin Orang Kaya Saiful Mulok Dato Seri Paduka Haji Abidin in a group photo. PHOTO: PROGRESIF
Discussions in place. PHOTO: AZIZ IDRIS

Rounding out the participating parties at the forum, there were 23 booth exhibitors ranging from healthcare providers to special needs organisations, ministry representatives to healthcare providers.

Elfera Health and Nursing Care Sdn Bhd founder Lailatul Zubaidah binti Haji Mohd Hussain, the initiator for the IMPIAN reform, reflected on the need for the society to do more to empower the differently abled, especially the importance of early intervention and self-education.

“Highlighting the importance of early intervention and educating parents on who and what exactly is involved, this year’s forum is one of the many ways we hope to offer that additional support.

“With parents being a child’s first teacher, early intervention services are not just about helping the child, but also empowering parents with the necessary tools to help their child through this developmental challenge,” she added.

Known for its considerable corporate social responsibility (CSR) footprint being “a business that gives back”, Progresif’s Chief Executive Officer Hajah Nurul Haniah binti Haji Jaafar said at the end of the forum that new initiatives like these “are precisely the type of progress that Progresif has always driven towards as a socially conscious business, because the more inclusive and socially aware our community becomes, the closer we get to our ultimate goal of everyone enjoying a connected, inspired and progressive life”.

In addition to its support as organising hosts of the event, Progresif conducted a substantial build-up to the IMPIAN forum by producing a series of webinars and podcasts made freely available to participants on the Progresif Media streaming app, launched earlier this year.