Regional Asia Pacific TOST and TOT Disability Equality Training Workshop 2013

The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the Department of Social Welfare Malaysia organised a 2-week workshop on Disability Equality Training from 8th to 19th January. This workshop, facilitated by Dr. Kenji Kuno, Senior Advisor on Social Security and Disability for JICA, was the 2nd Regional Asia Pacific Training of Senior Trainers (TOST) and 3rd Regional Asia Pacific Training of Trainers (TOT) to be held in Malaysia.

Twenty participants from twelve countries in the Asia Pacific region, including five from Malaysia, underwent training on the understanding of disability and facilitation skills. The countries represented were Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar, Cambodia, Timor Leste, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, China, Philippines, Samoa and Japan. The TOST ran concurrently with two participants from Malaysia who also doubled up as co-facilitators of the workshop. They were Nurul Huda Zainal from the Department of Social Welfare Malaysia and Fariz Abdul Rani from JB Prosthetic and Rehab Supply in Sabah.

Although I was the co-facilitator supporting the learning of senior trainers and trainers, I learnt a lot from the participants and Dr. Kuno as well. The most empowering moment in the entire workshop was seeing the participants rewriting their life according to the Social Model of Disability. They were struck with the realisation that their impairments were not the cause of them being disabled. Rather, the hardships that they faced and marginalisation from society stemmed from attitudinal and environmental barriers.

It was a privilege to be part of the transformation of the participants into DET trainers. Their perspective of disability and themselves as disabled persons will never be the same again. Disability is more than what we see in a wheelchair user or a blind person. It is an issue that involves so many aspects of society and requires the involvement of all levels to resolve. All of them now have the knowledge and skills that they can put into practice to make their own respective societies more inclusive.

To date, the Project to Support Participation of Persons with Disabilities by JICA, which DET is part of, has produced 153 trainers from 18 countries across the Asia Pacific, Africa and Latin America. Even with so few trainers spread across several continents, attitudes towards disabled people have changed. The public and private sectors in these countries have engaged DET trainers to conduct workshops in their organisations to better understand disability issues and work together to resolve them.

Training of Trainer on Disability Equality Training in Malaysia
Group photo after the conclusion of the 3rd Regional Asia Pacific Training of Trainers on Disability Equality Training 2013. Seated between the participants (L-R): Cik Nor Tipah Majin, Senior Principal Assistant Director of Persons with Disabilities Development Department, Dato’ Norani bt Hj Mohd Hashim, Director General of Department of Social Welfare Malaysia and Mr. Kunihiko Sato, Chief Representative of JICA Malaysia.

Training of Senior Trainers on Disability Equality training in Malaysia
2nd Regional Asia Pacific Training of Senior Trainers on Disability Equality Training 2013.
Standing (L-R): Dr. Kenji Kuno (Facilitator) and Nurul Huda Zainal.
Seated: Fariz Abdul Rani and Peter Tan (Co-Facilitator).

Disability Equality Training In Malaysia 2010

My daily routine was interrupted the whole of November. The first to weeks of the month was spent commuting daily to Bandar Baru Sentul and back. There, I spent most of the time learning and co-facilitating on Disability Equality Training with nineteen others from Thailand, India, Nepal, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines and Malaysia.

Group photo of Disability Equality Training TOT 2010 at MAKPEM
Group photo of Disability Equality Training TOT 2010 at MAKPEM.
Photo courtesy of Japan International Cooperation Agency Malaysia.

I had to wake up at five to get ready and brave the Jalan Loke Yew traffic jam with Wuan every morning. After dropping me off at MAKPEM, she took the LRT from Sentul to get to work. Those days, we barely slept more than five hours as we usually reached home at around 9.00 pm. By the time we were ready for bed, it was well past midnight already.

Disability Equality Training TOT 2010 at MAKPEM
Disability Equality Training TOT 2010 at MAKPEM.

It was a tough routine but what I learnt from the training was worth the effort. Dr. Kenji Kuno, the course facilitator, not only enlightened us on the two models on disability, namely the Social Model of Disability and Medical Model of Disability. He also taught us the finer skills to facilitate effectively.

Group work at Disability Equality Training TOT 2010 at MAKPEM
Group work at Disability Equality Training TOT 2010 at MAKPEM.

Although two weeks were barely sufficient to cover all the training modules, we basically had a good grasp of how we could promote a better understanding of the issues faced by disabled people and how those issues can be resolved through proactive actions, not only by disabled people but society in general as well.

Exits – The Mystery Of Death

Victor Chin, Peter Tan and Wuan at there photo exhibition at KLPac

About one year ago, Victor Chin bandied around the idea of Wuan and I holding a joint photo exhibition with him. The theme would be about the death of our mothers. We both have posted entries about the death of our mothers in our blogs respectively. As timing would have it, KLPac (Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre) gave us a slot just right after our wedding banquet in Penang.

As Victor would be traveling up to Penang for the banquet too, we had to do some juggling with our deadline to ensure that everything for the exhibition were done before we leave Kuala Lumpur. In fact, Victor did most of the work in organising the photographs and then send them for post-processing, printing and finally to the framer for stretching the printouts.

When we got the frames hung up on Monday, Victor announced to us that we got an extension to run the exhibition until September 13. It was originally slated to end on August 30. Friends and readers of The Digital Awakening are invited to view the images at Pentas 2 Foyer of KLPac. It is opened to the public from 10am to 10pm daily.

Why did we chose to showcase our deceased mothers? This is something that we would like to share during walkabouts and open discussions with visitors on every Saturday and Sunday (22, 23, 29 & 30 August and 5, 6, 12 & 13 September) from 2pm to 4pm. Do drop by.

The Star also ran an article on this exhibition titled “Pictures that speak a thousand words” in StarMetro yesterday (August 18, 2009).

Leaftlet of Exits - The Mystery of Death