Sime Darby: Developing Sustainable Futures
Yayasan Sime Darby Helps The Blind

Johor Bahru, 5 April 2011 - Yayasan Sime Darby (YSD) today contributed RM70,000 to Persatuan Braille Malaysia to produce 1,000 Braille books for the blind children in Malaysia. These books will be distributed free to visually-impaired children via their schools throughout Malaysia.

In a special ceremony held at Sekolah Kebangsaan Pendidikan Khas (SKPK) Princess Elizabeth in Johor Bahru, YBhg Datin Paduka Zaitoon Dato' Othman, YSD Governing Council Member, handed over a mock cheque to the President of Persatuan Braille Malaysia, YBhg Dato' Mah Hassan Haji Omar.

Dato' Mah Hassan then presented four Braille book titles to the Headmistress of SKPK Princess Elizabeth, Puan Nafisah Ismail. The school receives 80 units each of the Braille version of Muqaddam, Buku Pelajaran Jawi, Understanding Basic English Grammar and Junior Model Essays.

"YSD is truly honoured to be a part of this noble collaboration with Persatuan Braille Malaysia. This initiative is truly meaningful, as it meets the objectives of two YSD support pillars - Community Development and Education.

"These visually-impaired children should be given the same amount of support and opportunity, if not more, as compared to their sighted peers. It is YSD's pleasure to be able to assist them receive the extra help needed for their school studies. We want them to be better equipped to excel in their studies, just like any other student," said Datin Paduka Zaitoon.

YSD's contributions will be used by Persatuan Braille Malaysia, a registered charitable organisation, to cover the cost of producing these Braille books. Production of these books is done in-house by the members of Persatuan Braille and volunteers.

For the translation work, sighted volunteers read out the book content for the team to key in using Braille computers. Once translation is done, the books are printed using a Braille printer and then sent for binding internally at their office in Gombak, Selangor.

"We are very appreciative of YSD's support as this project gives the much needed boost for these blind school children to be more equipped with quality education," said Dato' Mah Hassan. "We believe the blind will stand a better chance in gaining suitable employment, which will help them lead independent and productive lives. This is why the association aims to provide as many Braille books as possible for these visually impaired pupils so that they are able to access knowledge and information. Education is the investment that we need to make for these children to have better lives in the future," he further added.

Dato' Mah Hassan, visually impaired himself, is a living example of a visually-impaired person who has benefitted from the effective special education system provided by the Malaysian government. Through sheer determination, this former student of SKPK Princess Elizabeth put himself through university and became the first blind lawyer in Malaysia. He truly believes that education is the key to his success that led him to represent Malaysia at the United Nations in New York.

Puan Nafisah, in her welcoming speech, thanked YSD and Persatuan Braille Malaysia for their noble collaborative effort in ensuring that the blind school children have enough reference books to supplement their daily curriculum.

"We are grateful for all the assistance extended to the pupils. Since its inception in 1948, the school envisions its pupils to be well-rounded students and hopes for them to be able to achieve their personal and professional goals after they leave school."

"We aim for our students to be dynamic individuals and valuable assets to the society. Quality education is definitely crucial in attaining this goal, and the Braille books provided is one of the ways for these visually-impaired children to better themselves," she added.

The Braille book project commenced in March 2010, and to-date 820 Braille books have been completed and delivered to SKPK Cacat Penglihatan Alma, Penang; Sekolah Kebangsaan Kubang Ikan, Kuala Terengganu, Terengganu; SKPK Tuaran, Sabah; Pusat Latihan Gurney, Brickfields, Kuala Lumpur and SKPK Princess Elizabeth, Johor Bahru.

These Braille books will also be delivered to SKPK Jalan Batu, Kuala Lumpur and Sekolah Menengah Pendidikan Khas, Jalan Batu Lintang, Kuching Sarawak by end of May 2011. The number and title of Braille books allocated to each of these schools are based on requests made.

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