PETALING JAYA, 9 November 2004 - What would you do if you wake up one morning and find that you are disabled? You are now unable walk even towards the washroom – something which you may have taken for granted since childhood. 

Would you find yourself despairing in bed, perhaps cursing your family for that little accident or even the Almighty God for what happened to you, or would you pick up sufficient courage to take on the world?

In conjunction with this year’s International Day of the Disabled Persons, University College Sedaya International (UCSI), along with several other organizations have put together a series of community projects for the disabled community. 

UCSI’s Vice President for Corporate Affairs, Chin Peng Kit said: “As a university par excellence, UCSI sees its role as a catalyst of change, to help challenge the mindsets of Malaysians towards people with disabilities.”

This is also in line with our own university motto, `Take On The World’. By showcasing what our disabled people are capable of doing, we are telling all of us that, even for able bodied people, if we pick up sufficient courage, we can also do wonders.”

He added, more importantly, the disabled community in this country deserves a conducive environment, where they can enjoy better access and mobility. Many public places are still inaccessible to the disabled people. 

“However,” according to Sia Siew Chin, director of Beautiful Gate Disabled People Caring Centre, “things are improving, but we need to continue to work for a better tomorrow for the disabled community. We have to think about our next generation.”

Hypermarkets like GIANT, for example, have become very accessible. “We are very pleased with the facilities that they have provided,” she said. “We believe with the disabled friendly facilities that are here at GIANT, going shopping on our own on wheelchairs will now become a reality.”

Sia said hypermarkets are useful for the disabled people as they provide most of the groceries, household and personal items, which the disabled people need throughout the week. 

Sia and 40 other disabled people from Beautiful Gate, were invited by GIANT Hypermarket’s Director of Marketing, Loi Liang Tok (Ms), for a special shopping spree. 

Loi said GIANT, and its staff, will continue to serve the customers, whether able bodied people or members of the disabled community. “We see everyone as having equal opportunities; and therefore, we look at every aspect of our customer service to ensure that our facilities are easily accessible even to the disabled community. We will continue to improve whatever shortcomings that we have,” she said. 

Helping the disabled people with their selection of office attire were staff from First Impressions, led by their trainer, Debbie Leong.

On November 11, the 40 participants will be given a personal grooming session Debbie Leong and thereafter to look for jobs. The event is being jointly-organized by UCSI, First Impressions, and Beautiful Gate, and sponsored by Giant Hypermarket and The Chicken Rice Shop.

Another major event, which is seen as a forerunner of this year’s International Day of the Disabled Persons, will be an entourage comprising some paralympics and former TV3 newscaster, Ras Adiba Radzi doing a wheelchair marathon on Sunday November 21 to create waves for this year’s celebration of the International Day of the Disabled Persons. 

For safety reasons, the route of the wheelchair marathon had to be shortened. Its organizing chairman, Stephen Ng, said the entourage will now have to end at TV3. “Walkers will not be allowed to participate in the walk; however, they can congregate at the specific media locations along the route to cheer the disabled people who are attempting the wheelchair marathon,” he said.

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