ABOUT 200 special needs children and adults participated in the largest art competition organised specially for them by The Rotary Club of Bandar Utama (RCBU).
Some came from as far as Seremban and Ipoh to participate in the art competition titled “Rainbow in My Heart”.
RCBU president K.G Tan said many misunderstood the term special needs and look down upon them with a mindset that they will not be of any benefit.
“But in reality, if given a chance, these special needs people can equally rise up to their fullest potential to achieve their aspirations and inspire others.
“Our recent Mount Kinabalu climb opened my eyes as 13 out of 70 special needs children reached the peak, an accomplishment many fully able-bodied people could not do. There was even a time when the blind was helping the others up the hill.
“It’s sad to know many special needs children lack exposure because parents do not bring them out for various reasons including the lack of activities designed specially for them.
“These special children should not be mere spectators but given a chance to participate too. Parents should bring them out often and allow them to watch and learn from the environment and surroundings.
“We hear of many activities such as marathons and cycling but there are very limited or close to none organised special needs people with learning disabilities. That is why we are trying to highlight the plight of these group,” he said.
Also present was rehabilitation medicine consultant Datuk Dr Zaliha Omar, who is also the adviser to Minister Datuk Seri Sharizat Abdul Jalil Women, Family and Community Develop-ment Minister.
“I am shocked to know that this is the very-first art competition catered for the special needs people considering that a study conducted by World Health Organisation 15 years ago stated that for a country like Malaysia, 10% of the population amounting to about 280,000 people would be of that category.
“We should acknowledge that they are also God’s creation and deserve the same treatment. People with special needs have different ways to express themselves and many express it through music and arts. It is very important especially for these children with special needs to socialise and get exposure to the outside world to learn and develop.
“RCBU has done a great job by taking them into consideration seriously and organising this event with professional standards. I hope this event will spark others organisation to cater more events specially for them,” she said.
Top 20 paintings were displayed at the Art Expo Malaysia 2011.