Help raise employability of blind, visually impaired

National 2 minutes, 6 seconds

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

BLIND and visually impaired individuals in the sultanate can improve their employability if only the public and private sector would provide the necessary facilities in their buildings.

Muhd Hamzi Omar, vice president cum executive director of the Brunei Darussalam National Association of the Blind (BDNAB), said that with the advancement of modern technology, there are a number of facilities that cater to the blind and visually impaired that will allow them to perform office jobs like other people.

“The blind and the visually impaired in the country have so much potential that have yet to be explored (because) most of the public and private sector cannot provide the necessary facilities,” he said in an interview with The Brunei Times.

Among the facilities that Muhd Hamzi said is essential in every workplace for the blind or visually impaired is text-to-speech or screen reading software that will enable the individual to navigate what is present in their computer.

“What is truly needed whenever an abled individual wants to hire people like us is training. This can be attained easily from the relevant agencies like the BDNAB and the Community Development Department (JAPEM) and we will gladly help them,” he said.

“They need this sort of training because they need to be prepared in matters such as the facilities needed to accommodate people like us. We can help them on where to find the screen reading software or how to help the new worker achieve his highest potential,” added the vice president.

In terms of mobility, he said that with the new development in public transport where taxis can provide door-to-door services, it has opened up doors in terms of mobility for the differently abled individuals in the sultanate.

“I can safely say that when it comes to the blind and visually impaired, there is still reliance on the family when it comes to mobility (but) with the taxi system that we have today that might change,” he said.

In light of this, Muhd Hamzi called for the public and private sector to start installing tactile paving within their premises to enable blind and visually impaired individuals to move freely and independently.

Tactile paving is where ground surfaces are given textures that assist blind and visually impaired individuals in terms of mobility.

“To be honest, this (tactile paving) is the bare minimum of what most of us need (because) the ability to roam independently allows us to do our job without seeking aid from anyone else,” said Muhd Hamzi.

The Brunei Times