UPON waking up one day Mohamad Shafiq Mohamed Jamil decided not to give in to depression due to his physical disability.
The 22-year-old then found out about the Bangi Industrial Training and Rehabilitation Centre (PLPP) online and decided to enrol for the Fashion Design and Sewing course there.
“I told myself that I was over feeling miserable, and I must learn a skill. It was then that I found this PLPP centre online and told my parents about my interest to further my studies.
“The next day, my family went to this centre to get the registration form.
“I wanted to become a policeman like my dad but I now dream of opening a tailoring boutique.
“I’ve always had some interest in sewing and I’m glad I found this centre because I like everything about it,” said Mohamad Shafiq, whose left leg was amputated following a motorbike accident at the age of 18 when he was a college student.
He was recently selected as the president of the PLPP student representative body.
Besides vocational lessons he likes playing wheelchair tennis.
Mohamad Shafiq also aspires to represent the country in the Paralympics.
The PLPP centre, run by the Social Welfare Department, has produced 1,798 graduates since its inception in 1999.
Seven major courses namely Prosthetic and Orthotic Manufacturing, Wheelchair Manufacturing, Office Management, Fashion Design and Sewing, Domestic Electrical, Art and Painting and Batik Crafts are offered there.
Its director Ismail Arul Raj Amirudin said PLPP accepts physically disabled people aged between 18 and 40, who could read and write and able to take care for their own needs. The centre has 134 students undergoing various courses for a duration of 18 months.
“No fees is imposed, instead they receive RM150 monthly allowance. Their courses, lodging and food, facilities, and extra curricular activities are taken care of by the centre.
“To enable us to train them, they must come with the mindset to acquire knowledge,” said Ismail.
Based on a study by the centre in 2015, about 87% of those who completed their studies at PLPP were hired within three months.
“We provide practical training for all courses and those from the Prosthetic and Orthotic Manufacturing and Wheelchair Manufacturing make actual final products for clients.
“We have a complete workshop together with experts to make these products,” he said.
“We take orders from the public and custom-make to fit the user. For some orders, the students would travel with their teachers to take the measurements of clients who need these aids. We welcome orders and internship opportunity from the public,” he added.
Ismail said students with disability also show a lot of interest in sports and the centre provides an avenue for them to pursue their interest.
“Every Friday is their sports activity day. Two former students from this centre won gold at the recent Paralympics.
“Our students are also exposed to both local and international skills-based competitions to showcase their talents,” he said.
Born without arms, Syauqi Mohammad Pisal, 18, from Kodiang, Kedah, is able to do most things himself including drawing and painting using his legs.
He said he planned to set up a small painting-related business once he completed his studies at the centre.
His teacher Mustafa Yahya said he had been teaching at PLPP for the past 14 years.
He said that if students such as Syauqi showed talent, he would refer them to international painting associations such as the Mouth and Foot Painting Association.
Student Mohd Azmil Mohd Zain, 21, lost his right leg in a van accident when he was only 10 months old.
“I have been wearing a prosthetic leg since I was six. At home I will crawl but I wear prosthetic legs to school,” he said.
He is pursuing the Prosthetic and Orthotic Manufacturing at the centre.
Throughout the course he has travelled to Terengganu with his teacher to take measurements for a 20-year-old client who required a prosthetic leg.
“The client was just about my age and we could relate to each other very well. With help from my teacher we made him a prosthetic leg,” said Mohd Azmil who hoped to set up a Prosthetic and Orthotic aid workshop in his hometown.
His class teacher Madzlan Saibon, who is a Paralympic gold medallist for wheelchair badminton, said he was a former student of the centre.
“I was a student at PLPP in 2002. I studied Prosthetic and Orthotic Manufacturing and I am now a teacher here.
“Many of our students from this course go on to work for the private sector,” he said.
Wheelchair Manufacturing course teacher Ahmad Amar Abdullah, 40, said the course provided services to repair, modify and make wheelchairs.
He said the department was the only government agency in the country that made wheelchairs.
“We welcome orders and our students will be taught to make them.
“We also welcome internships for our students.
“Besides the course work, we also encourage innovation. Our recent innovation was a sporty- looking wheelchair inspired by F1 racing,” said Ahmad, who became disabled following an accident when he was 23.
The PLPP is located in Jalan Sungai Merab in Kajang, Selangor.
For details, call 03-8926 1996 or visit www.plppbangi.gov.my