The Institut Sosial Malaysia (ISM) under the recommendation of Dr. Kenji Kuno of the Jabatan Kebajikan Masyarakat Malaysia and Japan International Cooperation Agency invited me to speak on Independent Living for Disabled Persons (Kursus Kehidupan Berdikari bagi OKU – Sesi 1/2010) on Tuesday. The ISM conducts training for civil servants and social workers on matters related to social development.
Peter Tan conducting Independent Living course at Institut Sosial Malaysia.
The main office block and seminar rooms were located atop a hillock just at KM6 of the Lebuhraya Kuala Lumpur – Seremban. It commands a panaromic view of Bandar Tasik Selatan and the surrounding areas. About 20 social welfare officers and social workers participated in the four hour course spread over two sessions.The first session was Pengenalan Kepada Kehidupan Berdikari (Introduction to Independent Living) and the second on History of Independent Living.
Peter Tan sharing the history of Independent Living with participants at Institut Sosial Malaysia.
The practice of Independent Living was new to most of the participants as they were unaware that severely disabled persons too can live independently if given the right support and opportunities. After the sessions ended, I could feel that they got a pretty good grasp of what Independent Living is all about, especially how it is practiced in other countries such as the USA, Sweden and Japan, among others. And I need to brush up on my Bahasa Malaysia. There were more than a couple of times when I could not find the correct words to use and had to be “rescued” by the participants.