Almost Over

The 2nd Regional Training of Trainers on Disability Equality Training (DET) ended today. Some of the participants have already left for home. I am missing them already. We spent so much time learning from each other in the eight days we were together. The 1st Regional Senior Disability Equality Training (DET) Trainers’ Training will conclude tomorrow. I am still here at MAKPEM in Bandar Baru Sentul waiting for Wuan to come pick me up.

I have to admit it has been a tiring two weeks but it was well worth the sleep deprivation and the time spent at the training. There were so many concepts to pick up, so many new presentation and facilitation techinques to learn and so many friendships forged. The camaraderie among the facilitators and participants was great. This must be one of the best trainings that I have attended.

On Saturday, I will be facilitating a half-day DET session for members of POCAM (Persatuan Orang-Orang Cacat Anggota Malaysia) with fresh skills learnt from this training. It is my fervent hope that more people will become aware of disability issues and that society at large and disabled people work together to resolve the multitude of problems that are disabling certain segments of the population from full and equal participation in Malaysia.

Busy And Tired

This blog has not been updated for a week now. Firstly, I have been asking for advice at the CareCure forum on some aspects of the TiLite ZRA Series 2 that I was not sure about apart from scouring for more information from the Internet. I am almost done with this pending quotation for shipping and some extra parts that I am ordering together with the wheelchair.

Secondly, I am currently attending the 1st Regional Senior Disability Equality Training (DET) Trainers’ Training since Monday. There are four of us undergoing training as facilitators for DET TOT, namely Ms. Saowalak Thongkuay and Mr. Sawang Srisom from Thailand and Ms. Eunice Marie Gato-Factor from Philippines. This course is conducted by Dr. Kenji Kuno of the Japan International Cooperation Agency Malaysia (JICA).

Running concurrently with the course beginning today is the 2nd Regional Training of Trainers on Disability Equality Training (DET) where the four of us double up as co-facilitators with Dr. Kuno for sixteen participants from the Asia Pacific region. These two courses are as interesting as they are tiring as we have been attending full-day sessions that will continue until next Friday. Until then, updates will be irregular.

The Path To Understanding Disability Issues

I am currently preparing training materials on Disability Equality Training (DET). Writing about disability in this blog is one thing, drawing up training modules for people who have little knowledge about disability is another matter altogether, more so when the people that I am facilitating are in the position to change things, if they so desire. How do I make them understand that impairments to the body do not necessarily lead to disability?

I have seen how effective Dr. Kenji Kuno used the process of facilitated participatory learning to conduct DET at the Jabatan Kebajikan Masyarakat Malaysia (JKMM) two weeks back. I was invited to co-facilitate with him at the event called “Intellectual Discourse Mengenai Disability Equality Training dan Independent Living” for officers from the JKMM at Jalan Raja Laut.

The various training modules were all centred around the Social Model of Disability as opposed to the Medical Model of Disability. The medical model is determined to diagnose, treat, cure and rehabilitate people to become “normal” again. In the social model, disability is seen as a social construct. It is people that creates an environment that disables other people. The social model respects the diversity in humanity and promotes equality through inclusion.

While I am appling the methods used by Dr. Kuno, I still need to come out with the training materials to suit my style and pace of conducting the course. I usually prefer to customise the course to suit the participants who have different levels of understanding of disability and the expected outcome from it, whether they are disabled people, non-disabled people or officers from the private sectors or government departments.

As I see it, DET is the most effective tool for promoting the understanding of the causes of disability. DET facilitators guide participants through as series of exercises that show disability as a social issue rather than a personal one. At the end of the course, participants come up with an action plan to resolve these issues.

DET promotes proactive behaviour towards creating an environment of equality for all. I like how the process of learning DET is structured with an outcome expected at the end. This is the tool that disability rights advocates should use to educate society with. DET allows people to understand disability through the process of discovering it themselves. This is more effective than giving a 2-hour monologue on disability and boring participants into slumber halfway through.