| James Kon |
PARENTS and guardians are urged to register persons with different abilities (OKU) under their care with the Community Development Department to provide the best services for them.
There are 6,506 OKU registered at the centre. The registration of the OKU is important to enable the government and other related agencies to plan programmes and facilities suitable for them.
Emphasising this was the 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 in his speech during a forum held in conjunction with International Day of Persons with Disabilities at the International Conventional Centre yesterday.
On the recent achievements of OKU in the country, the minister highlighted, “In the field of sport, at the Borneo Martial Arts Expo 2018, our first OKU boxer recently did the country proud by winning a category, and Special Olympics Brunei Darussalam (SOBD) has experienced success in the 11th Borneo Special Olympics football championship in November 2018.”
The minister added that a number of initiatives have been taken towards the welfare of OKU in the country, notably in the field of education.
“I am proud that the Brunei Darussalam National Association of the Blind has taken the step to publish books in Braille for the Special Education Unit, Ministry of Education,” he said. “The Centre for Children with Special Needs (KACA) has also made significant contributions to the library bus initiative.”
The minister also made mention of the opening of the SMARTER bistro & cafe in December last year, part of an employment programme to create jobs for OKU and getting them involved in contributing to the country’s economy.
Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Awang Haji Aminuddin Ihsan added that yesterday’s celebration “is very fitting with the theme of International Day of Persons with Disabilities, which is ‘Empowering persons with disabilities and ensuring inclusiveness and equality’”, adding that the theme “is in line with the direction of the Government 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 in ensuring that the OKU are given equal opportunities in all aspects of life as members of the community”.
Continuous efforts like the inclusive education system, the minister continued, which provides pensions and allowances, skills programmes, including services in the community and the launch of the Different Abilities Design Guidelines by the Ministry of Development in November 2018, demonstrates Brunei’s high commitment in prioritising the welfare and wellbeing of OKU at all times.
The minister noted as well that the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports is committed to realising a one-stop centre that will place the council for the welfare of OKUs together with all the related associations to maintain the well-being of the special needs individuals.
“What is also important is our continued commitment to continue to stimulate and implement creative ideas for the empowerment and well-being of persons with different abilities, including through the improvement of the programmes provided at Pusat Bahagia,” said the minister.
“In addition, the Youth Development Centre will also design specific programmes for OKU aimed at increasing employment opportunities for them beginning this year.”
On the international stage, the government’s commitment in championing the rights of OKU was shown when Brunei Darussalam ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities on April 11, 2016.
“This draws the world’s attention to Brunei – that it is always committed to OKU and will always continue to involve them in the flow of national progress,” the minister said of the move. “Therefore by leveraging a whole-of-nation approach, let us work together to provide more meaningful platforms and opportunities to OKU in the development of our nation, particularly by getting them engaged in the workforce.”