Visually impaired seek greater acceptance

National 2 minutes, 11 seconds


BRUNEI has improved leaps and bounds in terms of accommodating people with special needs, but the visually impaired feel that more should be done to integrate them into society.

Muhd Izan Safree Radat, who is currently undergoing industrial training at Pusat Bahagia, said that nowadays it’s challenging for visually impaired people to find employment in both the public and private sector.

He said although the country has improved in terms of accommodating those with special needs, there are still skeptics among Bruneians who doubt the capability of the visually impaired.

“There are still some people who think that just because we don’t have our sight, what we’re capable of is limited. (But) even with our disability, you would be surprised at what we can achieve,” he told The Brunei Times at a breaking fast ceremony held at Dewan Muhibbah yesterday.

Muhd Safree was born blind in one eye while having limited vision in the other eye. He is currently at Pusat Bahagia to learn administrative skills in the hope of getting a job to support his wife and two children, the eldest of which is three years old.

“Representation of the visually impaired in the workforce is very lacking, which shows that employers aren’t confident in our abilities (and) aren’t willing to take the risk of hiring us.

“If we were given the chance, I’m sure most of us would be able to rise to the occasion because it’s not all about what the society can do for us (but) also what we can do for the society,” said the 25-year-old.

Muhd Halid Daud, who was born completely blind, said he wants to work as a musician with his keyboard playing skills, aiming to perform at hotels in the sultanate. But the 41-year-old, who is self-taught, said it has become a challenge as most hotels require musicians to have a music certificate.

“Without (the certificate), people tend to focus on my disability and often question whether I’m able to perform or not when they don’t even know what I’m capable of.

“The negative perception towards people with special needs will never completely go away, (but) I don’t hold it against them because everyone has the right to their own opinion,” he said.

Muhd Halid said he wants to perform as a keyboardist to support his wife and two children.

“Just give us a chance. And it’s only then that we can show the world the things we’re capable of doing. That’s all we need – just one chance.”

The Brunei Times