Wheelchairs make a difference – Anthony SB Thanasayan

Source: The Malaysian Insider

Most people think that wheelchairs signal the end of the road for anyone who ends up in them.

Nothing can be further from the truth.

The term, “wheelchair-bound” is often wrongly used by the media when describing a person in a wheelchair.

The actual truth of the matter is wheelchairs are wonderfully liberating for a person who is paralysed. Without one, he or she is unable to get out of their homes and interact with the rest of society.

Wheelchairs are a key source to happiness, acceptance of disability and living. They present opportunities to the disabled to find jobs so that they can support themselves.

Wheelchairs also bring about love and romance.

Last week a committee member from the Independent Living and Training Centre Malaysia (ILTC Malaysia) in Rawang, Selangor, who uses a wheelchair decided to tie the knot in marriage with her boyfriend who also uses a wheelchair.

The couple who contracted poliomyelitis during their childhood met at the disabled centre a year ago where love blossomed at once.

The fact that they were also long-time wheelchair users helped them to understand their needs a whole lot better.

In addition to their wheelchairs, the couple also use callipers and crutches to get around. These walking aids also call for further patience in the extra time needed in the special circumstances that they are in.

No one, however, were more thrilled to see the couple share their lives together than their able-bodied parents and siblings. It was a miracle come true through their prayers, said their beaming loved ones.

All that is left now to do is for the Kuala Lumpur City Hall to make the venue where the hubby intends to set up his fruit stall disabled friendly.

The public toilet needs more room to accommodate his wheelchair and a ramp is needed in place of a step to his stall. The wife already has her job as a government clerk in KL.

Meanwhile, the 15-year old ILTC Malaysia is set to open its doors to its new disabled centre in Rawang soon. It cost nearly RM1 million and four years to build.

It plans to reach out to more disabled people in the rural areas with its two dormitories with 30 beds.

ILTC Malaysia is run by disabled people with the firm belief that it is disabled people who best understand their own needs.

It provides residential care to paraplegics with spinal cord injuries and amputees.

Newly disabled persons are taught daily living and social skills. They are also taught the computer, sewing and how to ride a three-wheeled motorcycle.

The new ILTC Malaysia’s gymnasium provides access to some of the latest equipment in physiotherapy and exercise.

One of the chief goals of the Rawang centre is to find jobs for those who enrol with them throughout the country. Every effort is made by ILTC Malaysia to furnish additional skills to its members to help bring this about.

“Those who need our support the most are accident victims, they are often in a situation where they literally have to pick the pieces of their lives and start living again,” said Francis Siva, president of ILTC Malaysia and a tetraplegic since 1986.

I think that ILTC Malaysia and others which follow in its footsteps are playing a pivotal role in helping make a difference in the lives of the disabled poor in our country.

The Welfare Department (JKM) should really start working with non-governmental organisations (NGOs) like these with financial and technical support.

For further information, ILTC Malaysia can be contacted at 03-6093 6292. – December 14, 2015.


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