Exhibition raises awareness on hearing impaired

National 2 minutes, 32 seconds

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

ELEVEN hearing-impaired employees from Datastream Technology (DST) are taking part in the company’s exhibition at a hearing awareness charity bazaar in the capital.

In a statement, DST said its exhibition is aimed at teaching visitors to the Hearing Awareness Exhibition & ‘Better Hearing, Better Living’ Charity Bazaar 2016 more about the special needs community and also serves as a platform for its special needs employees to share their work experiences.

“It wouldn’t be a good exhibition without the stars of the show,” said Melina Jaini, assistant manager of DST’s group corporate communications, in an interview with The Brunei Times.

“It’s more genuine to have the (hearing-impaired employees) teach (sign language to visitors) during the exhibition.

“They want to be heard. They want to show that it’s not easy for them to communicate with people,” she said.

From Melina’s experience in working with them, she emphasized how they would sometimes use text messages and emails to communicate with colleagues who don’t know sign language.

“Just because they can’t (communicate normally) doesn’t mean they aren’t capable of entering the working world. We probably need more awareness and should try putting ourselves in their shoes and learn more on how to communicate with them,” she said.

Two of the hearing-impaired employees, Norsyehida Md Mersidi and Hj Mohd Fuad Hj Ishak, spoke to The Brunei Times with the help of Aziz Assan, a sign language interpreter from the National Association of the Deaf.

“I feel happy because this exhibition helps strengthen silaturrahim (relationships) between the hearing-impaired and other DST members,” said Norsyehida, who has been working at DST for a year.

“We also get to teach people sign language. It’s enjoyable.”

Both said they initially had difficulty communicating with their colleagues, but in time, they managed to teach them sign language.

For the deaf, “being able to communicate with the public can make work easier,” said Hj Mohd Fuad, an assistant under DST’s product department, who had an interpreter assisting him back when he had to attend to customers.

Norsyehida and Hj Mohd Fuad said they’d like more people to learn sign language to reduce the communication gap.

The exhibition was also a way to show the public how DST gives back to the community.

“When DST got the invitation, of course it was a good opportunity for us to raise awareness on our corporate social responsibility projects. As a company, what we want to do is shape the future of Brunei,” Melina said.

The exhibition is being held on the ground floor of The Mall in Gadong until November 6. The charity bazaar, which is being organised by Hear Better Services Company, is part of their corporate social responsibility.

In 2011, DST and the Community Development Department (JAPEM) conducted a Privilege Training Attachment programme where hearing-impaired students underwent a six-month work attachment at DST to experience working life.

The first batch of hearing-impaired students, including Hj Mohd Fuad, was employed by DST from this programme.

The Brunei Times