Parents urged to work with organisations to unearth disabled children’s potential

Disabled children working together to harvest vegetables at the Community-Based Rehabilitation Centre’s farm in Pagoh.

The Johor government hopes more parents or caretakers will register their disabled children with the Welfare Department (JKM) or the Community-Based Rehabilitation Centre (PDK) to nurture their hidden potential.

State women, family and community development committee chairman Zaiton Ismail said the department’s main focus was on the children and teaching them how to manage on their own when their parents were no longer around.

“Each child is unique and smart, and we as the parents should not deprive them of opportunities.

“We have 72 PDKs in Johor.

“At PDK Pagoh in Muar, for example, we teach children ways to cultivate plants that are easy to manage and do not require a lot of hard work, ” she said when met at her office, in Iskandar Puteri.

She said JKM and parents played an important role in nurturing these children and helping them expand their capabilities.

“There are parents out there who are shy, but I assure you that our intention is to do what is best for the child.

“We also have classes where parents can participate and bring home the equipment so that they can continue practising what they have learned, ” she said, adding that there were 68,000 registered disabled people in the state.

One of the children at the centre in Pagoh harvesting cili padi.One of the children at the centre in Pagoh harvesting cili padi.

Zaiton said the skills programme was in line with the state government’s Johor Prihatin Agenda initiative, which was announced during last year’s state budget presentation.

“The state government has allocated RM150,000 for the training and promotion programmes to improve the current skills of people with disabilities.

“We have also allocated RM100,000 to be used for awareness programmes to reach out to families that have disabled children, ” she highlighted.

Meanwhile, PDK Pagoh centre manager Fauziah Hassan said the centre had managed to cultivate more than 1,000 plants in its garden since the project was introduced in 2017.

“We have 18 children in our care, but only four have the ability to conduct the tasks.

“The plants we grow include chillies, herbs and ginger, ” she said.

She disclosed that they could earn some RM3,000 from each harvest.

“The money is used to buy necessities for the children.

“One of our customer’s is the Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin’s wife, Puan Sri Noorainee Abdul Rahman, who bought all of our produce during a recent visit to Pagoh, ” she said.

Fauziah hoped that the state government would consider moving the centre to a vacant land across from the Pagoh Health Clinic, as this would allow the children to have better healthcare access.

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