Brunei hosts 3rd ASEAN Disability Forum next week

National 2 minutes, 11 seconds

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

BRUNEI will be hosting the third ever ASEAN Disability Forum (ADF) on December 11 and 12 at the Rizqun International Hotel, Gadong.

Themed “Social development for all, reduce poverty and enhance employment prospects“, ADF is jointly organised by the nine existing disabled-people organisations (DPOs) in Brunei.

At a press conference at Pusat Bahagia at Jalan Pulaie yesterday , Deputy Chairman of ADF 2013 Haji Ahmad Hj Abd Rahman from Pusat Ehsan said that the forum will consist of plenary and syndicate sessions.

“There will also be a one-day exhibition at the Atrium of the Mall in Gadong on December 11, to introduce and showcase the activities of the DPOs in Brunei to the public,” he said.

Co-chairman of ADF 2013 Malai Haji Abdullah from SMARTER said that the forum would also be a good opportunity for all the DPOs in the nation to “fall under one umbrella organisation, and attempt to reduce the (DPOs’) need for competition for funding.”

He also said that there was a need to understand that the expenses related to raising one disabled child is equal to raising four children, which can possibly contribute to poverty.

“However, despite not being an industrial country, I think Brunei is on the right track (of keeping poverty down),” Malai said.

Meanwhile, another Co-chairman of ADF 2013 Dato Paduka Md Alimin Abd Wahab from Pusat Ehsan urged the able-bodied to “have the capacity and will to help lift the disabled people up”.

Dato Alimin also acknowledged that the government departments have already taken steps to ensure an inclusive society in Brunei. He cited Ministry of Education as an example by having an inclusive education for all in its agenda.

The ADF forum hopes to serve as a platform for the sharing and exchange of ideas and experiences in empowering persons with disabilities and their community.

It also expects to produce recommendations on ways of mainstreaming disability perspectives in ASEAN and the United Nations Millennium Development Goals, specifically in alleviating poverty and enhancing employment opportunities for persons with disabilities.

About 300 representatives, with approximately 150 from Brunei alone, are expected to attend the forum.

They consisted of members of ASEAN governments, international organisations, local non-government organisations, government organisations and the private sector.

Keynote speakers at the ADF include disability sector experts and practitioners from international organisations and DPOs, at both national and international levels.

Her Royal Highness Paduka Seri Pengiran Anak Isteri Pengiran Anak Sarah is expected to officially open the ADF 2013 next week.

The ADF in Brunei is supported by the Community Development Department (JAPEM), Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports. It was last held in Siem Reap, Cambodia, in 2012.

The Brunei Times