Recipients thankful for Braille machines

|    Lyna Mohamad    |

ONE of the challenges visually-impaired Eddy Iswanndy bin Ismail from Masin Secondary School faces is finding his way around the school independently.

“The school is huge, so having to memorise every corner is really hard. Even my schoolmates who are visually fine forget their way sometimes, so it is quite challenging for me,” the 16-year-old said.

Eddy was diagnosed with liver cancer at 18 months old. He had to undergo chemotherapy daily for three years. Although he is now cancer free, the treatment has affected his eye sight, making him blind. Nevertheless he is thankful that Allah the Almighty allowed him to live.

Another challenge he faces is having just to hear teachers giving lessons, but not see the explanations that the teacher writes on the whiteboard. Sometimes this frustrates him, but being a cheerful person, he is able to overcome that and motivate himself to do his best.

At the same time he feels lucky to have classmates who are always supporting him and helping him out with school work.

“I am thankful to Yayasan Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah for giving me this Braille machine for my learning convenience. May Allah the Almighty always bless 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 for His Majesty’s concern and care for people like us by having Yayasan provide the assistance we need,” he added.

Another recipient, Nuradlina Syukriah binti Mohd Ali Sham, a Year 7 student of Rimba II Secondary School, who is also visually impaired since birth, was excited to have a Braille machine of her own.

His Royal Highness Prince ‘Abdul Malik, Chairman of the Yayasan Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Committee of Governors, in a group photo. – BAHYIAH BAKIR

“This will indeed help me further with my studies at home. Before I can only use Braille at the school. I am forever grateful to the Yayasan for this important gift for me. I am also thankful to have supportive family members at home who are always looking out for me and helping me to do well in my studies, and of course my school teachers,” she added.

Parents Norhasinah binti Ramli and Norazman bin Mantrais expressed gratitude to Yayasan Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah for the braille machine for their son, Mohd Haikal bin Norazman, a visual sensory student from Berakas Secondary School.

Norhasinah said her son began to have visual impairment at 18 months old.

Mohd Haikal had problems focussing on small fonts, hence when sitting for examinations, a teacher has to read out the questions to him before he can answer.

Parents Iskandar binti Yahya and Dayangku Fardina binti Suhaili are thankful to the Special Education Unit (SEU) for adding their 11-year-old son in the list of recipients.

Their son Syafie, who studies at Haji Mohd Salleh Sungai Hanching Primary School, was diagnosed with visual impairment since birth, and had to be guided when reading.

SEU has helped them on how to look after his education, sharing with them how to help Syafie with his learning process, how to make him able to read on his own and enable him to study along with his classmates.

Acting Head of SEU Haji Ali Yusri bin Abdul Ghafor shared with the media that based on reports collected through the Ministry of Health on students who show signs of visual sensory, the unit expected to see about 35 students by 2020.

Although some recipients are still able to see, they have high risk of becoming visually impaired, hence giving them earlier practice of using the Braille will be easier for them should the need arise.

“We hope with collaboration of Yayasan will widen to other areas. Hopefully it is going to be convenient to seek assistance. We do have our own budget, yet we do welcome contribution that comes in not only from Yayasan but hopefully also from non-government organisations (NGOs) or other bodies,” he added.