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Yayasan Sime Darby contributes RM1.8 million to Malaysian Association for the Blind

VOCATIONAL STUDIES FOR VISUALLY IMPAIRED STUDENTS

KUALA LUMPUR, 28 November 2014 –To be blind, is to see only perpetual darkness and the thought of being blind would seem debilitating to those endowed with the gift of sight. But for Norafendy Abu Hassan and Anas Izati, being visually impaired has never been a barrier for them to lead independent lives. Upon successfully completing their vocational training at the Gurney Training Centre (GTC), they managed to secure employment with Sime Darby. 

Another former GTC trainee, Siti Elini Ibrahim represented Malaysia for the lawn-bowling event at the recent Asian Para Games held in Incheon, Korea. These are only a few examples of those who have benefitted from the vocational courses offered at GTC which enables them to overcome their disabilities and lead more fulfilling lives. Since its inception in 1953, GTC has trained 2,230 visually impaired individuals. Between 2011 and 2013, GTC trained 288 visually impaired students, of which more than half have successfully secured jobs as masseurs, information system administrative assistants and computer system technicians, in both the public and private sectors with monthly incomes between RM500 and RM2,500. 

Managed by the Malaysian Association for the Blind (MAB), GTC is currently the only vocational training institution for the blind in Malaysia, accredited by the Skills Development department, Ministry of Human Resources. The centre offers 'Sijil Kemahiran Malaysia' training up to level four certification, which is equivalent to a diploma level certificate. Despite MAB’s good efforts and positive results from its programmes, MAB was considering reducing the number of students by 50% earlier this year due to shortage of funds. YSD has stepped in with a contribution of RM1.8 million to help the centre carry out its vocational courses. 

This three-year funding from July 2014 to June 2017 will subsidise the operational expenses, which include trainee allowance, staff salaries, transportation fees, utilities and building maintenance. YSD believes that the vocational training programmes at GTC is the getaway for people with visual impairment to a new life of hope, opportunity, productivity and leading meaningful lives. Speaking at a mock cheque handover ceremony today, YSD Governing Council Member YBhg. Datin Paduka Zaitoon Dato’ Othman expressed hoped that YSD’s assistance will be able to provide equal learning opportunities to deserving visually impaired students. 

“Despite their disability, they should have ample opportunities like others to achieve their dreams. It is our responsibility to support these students by providing them with access to education and support to equip them with the necessary knowledge and skills.” “Through this sponsorship, we anticipate 300 visually impaired students having better access to job opportunities through the training provided, ultimately empowering them to lead independent and more fulfilling lives. 

We hope that YSD’s contribution will pave the way for other corporate bodies to step-in and help support GTC and other vocational training courses for the disabled,” she added. MAB’s Chief Executive Officer YBhg. Dato’ Ganesan Supayah who was also present at the ceremony complimented YSD’s efforts to promote equal learning opportunities as well as ensuring the wellbeing of the underprivileged. “This sponsorship will allow us to maximise the utilisation of the existing facilities at the present centre, whilst focussing on other fund raising activities for other impactful initiatives for the blind community in Malaysia, including ICT facilities. 

We are keen to set up a research and development unit focussing on developing localised hardware and software for the visually impaired in Malaysia at zero cost to enhance their learning capabilities,” he said. Besides GTC, under its Community & Health pillar YSD also champions initiatives such as the Diabetes Malaysia Children's Fund, Cancer Research Initiatives Foundation (CARIF), Tabung YSD for the Underprivileged Coronary Patients at University Malaya Medical Centre, Hospis Malaysia’s Patient Care Programme, YSD-YOKUK Sayang Home Care Programme – a palliative care initiative in Kelantan, YSD Epilepsy Surgery Programme Fund, Women's Aid Organisation, Yayasan Chow Kit, IDEAS Autism Centre, and the Malaysian Federation for the Deaf among others.

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Last Updated:
04 Dec 2018
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