Group eyes own building for programmes

National 2 minutes, 9 seconds


THE Down Syndrome Association, more commonly known as ABLE, is finding it difficult to carry out “consistent and efficient” programmes for children without having its own building to carry out long-term projects.

In an interview with The Brunei Times, Presiden of ABLE Siti Zaliha Abu Salim said it was hard for them to have consistent and efficient programmes, for the children with Down Syndrome and their parents, when they do not have a permanent location. The organisation has been in operation since 2012.

“As we don’t have a building yet, it makes it difficult for us to produce a fixed programme to help these children. We want to give regular programmes for the parents on various topics including the best methods of teaching their children,” she said.

“Even the parents have come to us and want to get together to share their experience and challenges but it’s difficult for us to organise the programmes without a proper building. Sometimes we borrow halls or rooms from various agencies, sometimes even have programmes at home but then due to the inconsistency, it doesn’t feel efficient,” said the president.

She explained that, ABLE has organised various talks and activities for the parents of children with Down Syndrome, for them to share their experiences and knowledge on various topics such as diet, care and education.

However, she added that the efficiency and effectiveness of the programmes so far cannot be judged due to the inconsistency of the location and timing of the programmes.

With over 540 members registered in the association, including 90 individuals with Down Syndrome, the president highlighted that the need for a permanent location is growing.

“With a building, we could also house tools that can help in improving the individuals with Down Syndrome’s motor skills and their cognitive development. So we can also teach the parents and families how to train them in enhancing those skills,” said Siti Zaliha.

The president said they had their first Fun Walk event to collect funds for the association and also to enhance awareness of the general public regarding the association. She explained that, they do not have enough money to rent a building.

“We are also trying to find help from any interested party that are willing to either donate funds for the association or even offer us a permanent location to set up the Down Syndrome Centre. Through events such as these, by raising awareness of our existence we hope that we could reach out to any interested party who could help us help these children.”

The Brunei Times