Friday, November 28, 2008

Working beyond their limitations

To prove that disability should not be a hindrance to earning one’s keep, a total of 30 physically-challenged participants showcased their business and artistic acumen at the Photography Exhibition and Disability Employment Aware-ness exhibition at the Sunway Pyramid recently.

Carrying the message, “Productivity Beyond Limitation,” the event was organised by the Beautiful Gate Foundation (BGF) to encourage people with disabilities to promote their products and services.

In her speech, the foundation’s executive director Sia Siew Chin, 42, pointed out that the exhibition was an awareness campaign aimed at highlighting the need for public and private bodies to provide employment for the physically challenged.

It was also to show the obstacles and barriers that are preventing the disabled from being financially and physically independent.

Art without hands: He does her calligraphy by strapping a brush to her right stump.

“When we talk about employment, we are not only talking about jobs, but it is a whole package that involves accessible transportation, housing, employment support system, accessible workplace and other facilities,” she said.

The exhibition, which also acts to symbolise the determination of people with disabilities (PWDs), is one way to acknowledge their capabilities and economic contribution.

The event, said Sia, was a concerted effort to provide a platform for PWDs to create business partnership opportunities in order for them to achieve self reliance and be economically independent.

One of the participants who lauded BGF’s effort was Chinese calligrapher, He Xue Mei.

The 38-year-old who lost both arms at work due to an accident in a fireworks factory at age 18, recalled that the first few months of her recuperation had been full of despair and frustration.

“In the beginning, I had to rely on others to do everything for me, but it did not take me long to realise that I had regained my independence.

“The process of relearning how to function without my hands and picking up a viable skill helped me to snap out of my depressive rut,” said He who hails from Zhuhai, China.

She went on to practice Chinese writing by strapping a brush to her right stump.

Today, the mother of two daughters aged 14 and 9, is a calligraphy teacher when she is not travelling.

“There has to be a sense of purpose in one’s life and this is not possible to have if you cannot sustain yourself financially,” said He.

Unique: Wong Sai Choo’s image of a woman cutting fruits won second place in the adult category of the photography contest.

Dealing with the question of employment has also led wheelchair-bound Raymond Teoh, 26, to the exhibition.

Teoh, whose forte is in web and graphic design, is now the creative director of his own company, At Home Creative, with another fellow PWD, Aw Yot Kong, 35, a graphic designer.

The duo promoted their latest line of merchandise, printed T-shirts carrying an environmental theme, at the exhibition.

“The last thing we want is for people to sympathise with us. Instead, we want them to appreciate us for our creativity,” said Teoh, who operates his business from a rented house in Cheras.

Also displayed at the exhibition were prize-winning photographs of a photography contest on the disabled. For enquiries, call Beautiful Gate Foundation at 03-7873 6579.

Source : The Star

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Jobs alone not enough for disabled

Story and photos by SALINA KHALID

THERE is more to providing job opportunities to the disabled as the special people require a package deal, said Beautiful Gate Foundation executive director pastor Sia Siew Chin.

“When we talk about employment for the disabled, we are not only talking about jobs. We talk about a whole package deal. It involves accessible transpor­tation, housing, employment support system (like job coaching), accessible workplace and other facilities or equipment,” she said.

She added that many disabled people resort to handicraft-making or providing services through the Internet because they cannot get jobs in the open market.

Although some may get jobs, they choose not to work for long and some although given the opportunity, do not wish to apply for government jobs.

At work: Another entry for the contest showing blind masseurs giving foot massages.

She said it was important that such issues were dealt with in order to help the disabled to achieve self reliance and be economically independent.

She was speaking at the launch of the exhibition on products and services by disabled people held at Sunway Pyramid on Sunday.

Themed Productivity Beyond Limitation, the exhibition was launched by Deputy Unity, Arts, Culture and Heritage Minister Teng Boon Seng.

Organised by Beautiful Gate Foundation, it was aimed at boosting awareness on the need for employment for the disabled and to highlight the obstacles and barriers faced by these people in getting jobs.

It also provides an opportunity for the disabled community to promote their products and services to the public.

The event also included a prize-presentation ceremony for a photography contest on the disabled.

Source : The Star

Sunday, November 9, 2008



(雪蘭莪‧八打靈再也)團結、藝術、文化及文物部副部長鄧文村建議,國內各殘障中心向國家工藝美術中心(National Art & Craft Centre)毛遂自薦,推廣來自殘障朋友製作的手工藝品,為他們開拓另一個就業空間。