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Disability or living with special needs should not prevent you from holding a great job or starting your own business but the job search can be challenging.
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Our goal is to eliminate barriers to employment and bridge the gap between job seekers with special needs and the employers who want to hire them via our online interface, specifically designed to deliver "barrier-free" e-recruitment.

Latest From the Blog

Thila Laxshman may be best known for her singing prowess or even her days as a leading actress, producer, master of ceremonies and trainer in the Malaysian Indian entertainment industry. Yet, being actively involved in community service and being an advocate for children with autism is by far her most important role, she says. Thila’s own son, Danvi Laxshman Siva Kumar, now a 19 year old student at the IMC Centre, was diagnosed with autism at the tender age of three, which spurred her interest in advocating for autism, a testament to the strength and depth of a mother’s love for all. She is the President of PERSAMA-2gether4autism, a non-profit association dedicated to providing help to B40 families affected by autism spectrum disorders. “My calling is perhaps to deliver a message of hope for families struggling with autism,” she tells GoodNews. As World Autism Awareness Month starts today, April 2, 2019, Thila shares her personal journey with autism for our Good News readers. Here are some of the highlights from her interview. 1. Tell us about yourself. I come from a small town in Port Dickson, Negeri Sembilan. My working life began at the age of 19 with a subsidiary of TV3. Subsequently, I moved into sales with Grolier Malaysia and eventually branched out into public relations and events management. Needless to say, I went through a very challenging time to make it up until now. 2. What is  Autism Spectrum Disorder ? Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), or autism for short, is a condition which affects brain development. It is characterised by social challenges, difficulties in communication and behavioural issues, according to experts. The effects can range from slight social challenges to severe cognitive impairment. 3.  At what age did you realise that your son was autistic? He was diagnosed under the Autism Spectrum Disorder at the age of 3 and a half years old. 4. Were there any early ‘warning’ signs of autism noticeable in your son? My son was actually showing signs of autism which at that point of time we knew nothing about. He was walking on his toes, gazing, flapping his hands and humming. We took him to see a doctor after he stopped communicating and bonding with us. This was followed by a consultation with a child specialist to confirm his diagnosis. That was the last time I met a doctor regarding his condition. 5. What was your immediate reaction to the diagnosis? My whole world came crashing down for a moment! I remember being only able to think about what I could do for him and what his future would be like. 6. How important is early intervention? I immediately resigned from my job without thinking twice to raise my son and got him started on ABA (applied behaviour analysis) therapy with the assistance of Ms Caroline Chong (a strong mother of two ASD children). Each intervention session lasts for 4 hours and is usually done twice every day. This was the base of growth and bonding between Danvi and me. Since we could not afford most of the one-to-one therapies for Danvi’s condition back then, I thought as a mother I should take the opportunity to help and train my own son. Bearing this in mind, I enrolled for Diploma/Advance Diploma courses at the Linguistic Council which provided courses on behaviour management, learning disorders, language development, counselling and psychology. I also never missed out on any workshops or training sessions to be aware of the latest research and developments related to ASD. 7. As a parent of an autistic child, how has your son’s condition impacted your relationship as a family? Raising a child with special needs is definitely a daunting experience for many parents. I have been through a lot of challenging times but the only thing that keeps me going is positive thoughts. Some families are torn apart or on the verge of separation due to poor management of emotions and stress. Both parents have to work together to care and integrate their child with special needs with the rest of the family. At the end of the day, every family goes through hardships and different levels of stress but never give up on each other. 8. Tell us about your purpose for establishing PERSAMA. Throughout this roller coaster journey in dealing with my autistic son, I came across many parents with autistic children from the underprivileged income group and wanted to do something to help them. I gathered a few of my friends and formed PERSAMA-2gether4autism, a non-governmental organisation, providing sponsored services for the B40 category. Through our autism-friendly events, workshops and educational activities, there has been immense support from the community and I am humbled to inform that we have successfully funded many families in need. It is also my hope that PERSAMA offers support to families whose children have recently been diagnosed with ASD. While Malaysia is “still a work in progress on treatment and awareness”, Thila said her “life is different because I now have a different way of seeing things” and she is grateful to everyone who assisted her family when in need. “Danvi has gone from very low on social skills to acing a ping pong game! As an extremely gifted boy, but yet socially delayed, my hope is that Danvi always continues to have the support that he has now. With April being Autism Awareness month, I feel that it’s my job to be a voice for Autism families”. “My biggest advice is this, do not be ashamed or dismiss your child’s special needs. Find your child the help that they need, and if you need help, never be afraid to ask. It can get overwhelming for you. These children are no less – they are gifted and intelligent and just happen to process things differently than the neurotypical”. “Celebrate your child for who they are!” Visit Goodnew.com for more details,  http://goodnews.com.my/blog/2019/04/02/wearing-it-blue-for-autism-mygadismanis/
Meet Taufik, a seven-year-old deaf and mute boy from Senaru village in North Lombok. This unassuming child is now hailed as a hero for his act of helping foreign tourists evacuate from the area when an earthquake jolted Lombok Island recently. The boy, who lives with his grandmother, earns a living by acting as a guide assisting tourists and visitors at the Tiu Kelep and Sendang Gila waterfalls in Lombok. He assisted Malaysian tourists to find a route out of Tiu Kelep Waterfall, when a 5.4-magnitude earthquake occurred and triggered landslides on March 17. This is how survivor Wong Siew Lim, 56, narrates Taufik’s heroism: “If not for him, I and six others would have sustained serious injuries that could have been tragic, more (of us) could have shared the fate of our two Malaysian friends who were killed in the catastrophe. “Taufik was the first to rush towards me and a few others to help us at the exit when the quake occurred while his older cousin Tomy Al Bayan ran towards the others in our group who were having a dip. “My friends and I followed Taufik towards the exit, while Tomy was still in the waterfall area when the second quake occurred. Taufik had turned to see a huge rock hitting Tomy and my two friend. “The boy assisted us by showing us the way out from the area.” According to Global Peace Mission (GPM) Malaysia chief operation officer Syahrir Azfar Saleh, “while he was being carried, Taufik assisted us by showing the way out from the location (of the waterfall).” There are now plans to bring Taufik to Malaysia, and GPM wants to provide him with any medical care he needs. Well done Taufik. You are indeed a hero.
What stands out about Amanda Kong Hwei Zhen, 24, is not merely her visual impairment, it is in fact her intelligence, self-sufficient nature and a woman full of personality that exudes life. When I first met her many moons ago, I really didn’t know how to deal with her being blind, much like many people who have met her. I was curious about this woman who was born with congenital (childhood) glaucoma and graduated with a First Class Honours from the University of Liverpool, who stood tall when called to the Malaysian Bar, and aspires to school people on the rights of persons with disabilities who want to live in a world where their disabilities are not viewed as ‘heroic’. Regardless of able-status, that’s one impressive resume! One wonders, how she managed to do it all. How does she navigate the world without the one sense many of us rely on so heavily? Enter Allison Won Yuen Fong, Amanda’s mother and source of inspiration. We interview these two resilient women this #IWD2019. Read on to find out more. Allison: 1. Tell us a bit about yourself. My name is Allison Won Yuen Fong. I am 56 years old. I am happily married and blessed with three wonderful children. As my eldest child, Amanda was born with visual impairment, I decided to give up my fulltime job as a secretary and become a homemaker to care for her. 2. What is your role as a mother in raising a visually impaired child? As a parent with a disabled child, it is important to help your child cope with his or her disability in the best way possible. I helped Amanda by figuring out ways to get around things such as navigating through obstacles and mobility access, a simple example being counting the number of steps to reach a particular destination and removing furniture in the house in a way which made it easier for Amanda to walk around the house without bumping into them. I learnt Braille and taught it to Amanda. In addition, I thought her certain essential house chores, such as cooking and doing the laundry. I always believed in her and never gave up on her. I helped her whenever she faced difficulties in her studies. For instance, when Amanda faced the problem of lack of study materials during her years at school, I will prepare and translate the books into Braille for her, and produce tactile diagrams for her. I have always endeavoured to support Amanda by always encouraging her to pursue her life goals. I provided emotional support during trying times. 3. What has helped Amanda the most to succeed in university and outside university? Amanda always has a positive outlook on life. She believes that perseverance and determination are the key to achieve one’s life goals. She is very hardworking and diligent. Hence, I need not worry much about her. She always pushes herself to do her best in everything she undertakes. I only provided the necessary support during trying times and have always been there for her as her main pillar of strength. I am proud to see her come so far. I am truly grateful to all the people who have helped Amanda throughout this long and incredible journey – all her teachers, lecturers/tutors at BAC and the University of Liverpool who are most accommodating in providing the necessary support, and her friends who are always ready to lend her a helping hand. 4. How do you spend time with your daughter? During our free time together, we usually go shopping or to the movies and even travel together (just the two of us!). It is the best time to bond and nurture the mother-daughter relationship. 5. Your hobbies? Gardening, cooking, baking and reading fiction of all genres. 6. If I am not wrong, you once told me you studied together with Amanda at university? Please tell me more. I only accompanied Amanda for a short period of time, to make sure that she was well settled to life abroad at the University of Liverpool, UK. As Amanda is an independent child and the university provided excellent mobility assistance, I was not worried at all, and was contented to leave after a few months. However, in a way, you could say that I studied together with Amanda, in the sense of preparing and translating her college textbooks into Braille for her. Thus, I get to learn a bit about the legal field, and I must say that it is rather enlightening, and I enjoyed reading about the law. 7. What are your words of encouragement to other parents with differently-abled children? Don’t ever give up on your child. Always believe in your child’s ability and do not look down on their disability. Try to support your child in every way and encourage them to pursue their dreams. Always be proud of your child despite their disability. It is important to always support your child in pursuing their dreams. Amanda:- 1. Congratulations on being called to the Malaysian Bar! How does it feel to be finally called a lawyer? Thank you. No doubt, it has been the greatest milestone of my life. I am glad and proud to have managed to come so far. It has been a long and incredible journey, full of ups and downs. I am truly happy that my perseverance and determination finally paid off. I would like to credit my success to all the amazing people in my life who made this possible – my loving family, teachers, lecturers and tutors at BAC and the University of Liverpool, my Pupil Master and all my esteemed colleagues at Messrs Skrine (where I had the honour of completing my pupillage), and my ever helpful friends who stood by me through thick and thin. However, I am aware that this is only the tip of the iceberg, as I still have a long way to go. I am excited to embrace this new chapter in my life, as a member of the legal profession and an officer of the court! 2. Would you consider your feat inspirational? I hope that I will be able to inspire others. I also hope that my achievement will be able to alter the perception of society towards PWDs in Malaysia. The society should look at our abilities, and not our disabilities. I believe that nothing is impossible to achieve, as long as one is willing to work towards it. Someone once said that “the human spirit is one of perseverance, courage and determination that no disability can steal away”, and I totally agree. 3. How would you like to be known? I hope that I will be a successful lawyer in the future. For now, I merely hope that I will be given an opportunity to develop my career. It is truly difficult for me to seek employment, despite being called to the Malaysian Bar. Most legal firms are less enthusiastic in hiring a lawyer with a disability; perhaps they are afraid to take the risk and fear that disability will hinder job performance, and they are not keen to explore unchartered waters, as there are not many disabled lawyers (especially with visual impairment) who have been admitted as an Advocate & Solicitor and are qualified to practice in Malaysia. I want to change this perception, and I hope that I will be given a chance to prove my abilities. Bearing this in mind, in the near future, I would like to be known as an outspoken advocate for the rights of PWDs in Malaysia, which is currently under protected. Championing the rights of PWDs in Malaysia has always been my life goal, and it is one of the primary reasons I decided to venture into the legal field. 4. Give us a glimpse into your school life. What was it like for you? Primary and secondary education: I enrolled in schools with integrated programmes for my primary and secondary education to interact as much as possible with other students, and get to learn along with them, which was fun. A few teachers are really dedicated, and helped with my studies and catered to my needs. Fun fact – I was the only visually impaired candidate to sit for the Additional Mathematics SPM paper, as I was the only student in the school to even take up that elective! Amanda with her friends since her A-Level days College education: I was extremely grateful to BAC for offering me a place to pursue my legal education. All my lecturers and tutors were accommodating and willing to support me in every way possible. My friends always ensured that I was able to blend in with the others, e.g. they will read out all the notes on slides/whiteboards to me, and helped me around the campus. The support provided to me by the University of Liverpool during the final year of my law degree was excellent. I had mobility support, library assistance, a note taker, and accessible materials (both in Braille and softcopies). Overall, I had an enjoyable and memorable time reading law. 5. How do you spend your free time? I enjoy shopping and travelling with my family, as it is the best time to bond. I also enjoyed reading fiction (especially mystery and thriller genres). I also play the piano as a form of relaxation and have written my own stories, as I have a creative and innovative mind. Amanda dominates the fashion runway with Fashion Designer Hasfitri Yusof at Glamour Includes held recently at KL Gateway Mall 6. Amanda Kong is refreshingly fearless. Is that who you really are? Yes. I believe that nothing is impossible if you are willing to strive towards achieving a particular life goal. Disability is not a hindrance in this respect. I always have a positive outlook towards life. I believe that perseverance and determination is the key to success. One should keep empowering themselves to be successful. In this respect, I think it is appropriate for me to share a quote from Professor Albus Dumbledore, a fictional character from the Harry Potter series – “It is our choices that show who we truly are, far more than our abilities”. Lembah Pantai MP YB Ahmad Fahmi Fadzil congratulates Amanda at Glamour Includes Fashion Runway 2019 7. What is in store for Amanda Kong in the near future? I hope to continue championing the rights of PWDs in Malaysia. I wish to go the distance in promoting an inclusive society as one which enables PWDs to enjoy equal opportunities in society, thus ensuring that their rights are well protected. For example, advocating for guide dog access to be allowed in Malaysia, as it will greatly benefit the visually impaired community in terms of mobility access. I also hope to enjoy life to the fullest and have a rewarding and satisfying career as a lawyer.
Minderjit Kaur* is a wheelchair-bound Differently Abled Individual (OKU) who has been looking for employment for the past two years, but without much luck. She is part of almost 500,000 persons with disabilities (PWD) who can become part of the country’s work force and contribute to the nation’s economy, if given the chance. Unfortunately, the doors are simply not fully opened for people like Minderjit and the rest. However, all is not gloom and doom for these persons with disabilities. While the government is trying its best to have 1% employment rate of PWDs within the civil service by 2020, a new project has now been launched with the sole purpose of addressing the need to hire and create a culture that is inclusive for the PWDs in Malaysia. Hello  Specialjobs.com.my Specialjobs.com.my  is a free online web portal aimed at connecting employers to jobseekers who are differently abled. The mission of this portal is simple – to connect all with opportunity, on both sides of the equation. Simply put: >  As  job seeker , your resume will reach a massive pool of great employers who are not only compassionate but also sensitive to the needs of the differently abled. >  As  employer , you’ll gain access to some of the most qualified candidates around. Above all, the best feature is the availability of numerous categories in the portal to ease users in finding the right job or candidate quickly and easily. The idea is to connect employers to differently abled jobseekers with the right talent at no cost. This is the only employment site where 100% of jobs posted on the portal feature employers specifically seeking to hire differently abled individuals. This portal is fully funded by BAC Education Group and supported by the Ministry of Human Resources Malaysia. It was launched on Oct 23 by Minister of Human Resources, YB M Kulasegaran. Also present at the launch was Senator Bathmavathi Krishnan, special needs advocate of Dewan Negara Malaysia. What’s in it for employers? As an employer, the need of the hour is to shift the hiring plan from a corporate social responsibility to a hiring plan that creates business impact. This means having a diverse and inclusive culture that fosters high-performing teams that can better support the business. Its not just all about offering inclusiveness for the PWDs. Employers also benefit in terms of  tax deductions  under the Income Tax (Deductions for the Employment of Disabled Person) Rules 1982 (PU (A) 73/1982) which allows a  double deduction  of the remuneration paid to such employees in computing the adjusted income of the employer. Other tax relief for employers include  tax rebates  under the Income Tax Act 1967 for  special training programmes  of employees living with disabilities. A study by the Society for Human Resource Management says that the retention rate of PWDs is excellent as they are reliable employees. The Labour Department statistics meanwhile shows the PWDs are less likely to get into work related accidents. So why wait? The platform is ready for all employers and jobseekers to take advantage of, and to make the difference. Here’s what you should do: 1. Employers, if you are looking for talent, our talented jobseekers are ready for hire. We urge you to sign up now at https://specialjobs.com.my/registration/ 2. Jobseekers, this is the right place for you. Submit your resumes now at  https://specialjobs.com.my/ Make use of this special employment site to make the difference today. Interested parties can share comments, ideas and suggestions to further improve this effort. Employers can also contribute by running job campaigns for PWDs. Queries can be directed to Thanabalasingam Balakrishnan at +60111 2324948 or  thana@bac.edu.my .  
Sharon Lee had always been passionate about being involved in charity and community programmes.  It was nurtured in her from young as she was actively involved in the Leo Club during her schooling days back in the 80s. Subsequently, this passion of hers came in very useful when she was gifted with a special needs daughter. Sharon managed to get her daughter educated but soon realised that once the special needs courses were completed, there were hardly any avenues for these capable individuals to be included in the mainstream workforce. Inevitably this bleak future of not having any opportunity to use their skills after attending the courses made them feel left out and useless. This resulted in Sharon putting on her thinking cap to brainstorm ways to deal with this unfortunate reality; her goal was to create a platform providing employment opportunities to special needs individuals, especially those interested in the culinary arts. Back in mid-2016, the idea of Tender Hearts, a catering business run by special needs adults was created. It started informally and soon Sharon managed to get the social enterprise sorted and registered it in December 2016. Since then, Tender Hearts has grown from strength to strength and moved from just opening pop up stands and small catering jobs to making thousands of their signature chocolate chip cookies for large corporate bodies. Early this year, Sharon decided to take Tender Hearts to the next level and create a permanent venue for the team to ‘anchor’ and hire members of the special needs community on a regular basis. Thus was born the Tender Hearts café in April 2018. The cafe is run by Sharon, a group of parents of special needs children and special needs youth with autism and Down Syndrome. This not only provided some stability to the organisation but also continuous employment for the special needs adults. ‘The café acts as a training centre and future employment place for this pioneer group of special needs adults and will slowly bring in more special needs adults,’ elaborates Sharon. Sharon encourages everyone to be more inclusive towards the special needs community and more importantly to include them into the workforce as they too deserve equal rights and opportunities. She is also grateful to the backing of the Make It Right Movement powered by Brickfields Asia College, which has been very supportive towards helping with the opening of the café and in the design of the menu and brochure. Besides that, the Make It Right Movement has also been sourcing for catering gigs for the café to great success. Tender Hearts café is located at Lot 2.17, Level 2 of Summit USJ in Petaling Jaya. The café has a regular menu and a daily special menu. All the food has a home-cooked vibe with a simple but delicious range of dessert offerings too. Within three months of its opening, the café is breaking even, thanks to its catering gigs. It is hoped that with the support of the community, the catering and café can be two separate profitable entities. Feel free to contact them at  tenderheartssent@gmail.com  as they welcome any form of support towards inclusion, acceptance and equality for special needs.
By goodnews.com.my Reporters Imagine cycling for 72 hours, covering 1,000kms in all! After just ten kilometres, your muscles will be aching, palms will be numb and bursting with blisters, and your bum will feel like you are sitting on hot coal. But that’s exactly what 43-year-old Lee Yee Seng did – and all for a good cause. Lee is the president of Malaysia Lysosomal Diseases Association (MLDA), and he undertook the cycling campaign to inform and educate the public, media and especially the government, about the rare disease. A father of two daughters, both suffering from Pompe disease, an autosomal recessive metabolic disorder which damages muscle and nerve cells throughout the body, Lee began his cycling marathon at 8.30pm on Sept 14 in Semenyih. Over the course of the next 72 hours, he cycled 1,000km through Mentakab, Kuantan, Mersing, Kota Tinggi, Skudai, Pontian, Batu Pahat, Muar, Melaka and Seremban, before completing the grueling marathon at Semenyih again at 8.36pm on Sept 16, almost exactly 48 hours later. He had originally planned to complete his journey in 75 hours but managed to do it three hours earlier, thanks to his grit and determination to succeed for his cause. Accompanied by a number of cyclists along the route, Lee’s effort has been recognised as the longest bicycle ride in the Malaysian Book of Records. Asked why he did what he did, Lee says he felt responsible to fight for the rights of all Lysosomal Storage Disease (LSD) children in Malaysia. He also wants to do his best for all LSD children, believing that “no one should be left behind”. Even though he had minor injuries on his hands, Lee says he was pushed by his belief to create awareness about rare diseases in Malaysia. He says continuous funding and support for such ailments is crucial to avoid death resulting from delayed treatment or treatment ceased due to lack of funds. As part of this campaign, seven videos of the Lysosomal Storage Diseases (LSD) families have been shared in MLDA’s Facebook page to show the efficacy of Enzyme Replacement Therapy (ERT) for some patients who have already started the treatment as well as stress on the importance of early medical access to prevent death. “In 2018, the Health Ministry allocated a special budget of RM10 million for 10 LSD patients who started the medication in HKL and are progressing well with the ERT. However, ERT is a life-long treatment, with the patients needing continuous support in 2019 and the years thereafter. “We hope the government will bring hope to this group of patients by creating a sustainable medical system, which is the National Social Insurance Reimbursement Scheme. “Only this scheme will be able to protect all patients suffering from rare diseases and ensure no one is left behind,” Lee says hopefully. Along with his loyal bicycle, Lee was also accompanied by ‘Hope’, the sloth mascot of Pompe disease, throughout his 1,000km journey. For more details, visit MLDA Facebook here To follow Hope, visit Hope Travels – Pompe Awareness here
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