“Special Buddies Programme” caters for programmes in support of students with special needs

By Arif Gamon

GOMBAK, 26 September 2020: A “Special Buddies Programme” was set up to cater for the needs of students with disabilities through a special support system, Dr. Aida Mokhtar who is the Coordinator for the Disability Services Unit (DSU) at the Office of the Deputy Rector (Student Development and Community Engagement) of the International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM), told a “special buddies meeting” involving a get together with volunteers held virtually recently.

She told the meeting that the special buddy programme is of a support and management nature to accommodate students with disabilities in the IIUM.

“The programmes for special buddies equip them to help make education more inclusive for students of various backgrounds (including those with disabilities) as well as to inculcate empathy and compassion when dealing with persons who have disabilities,” Dr. Aida explained.

The “Special Buddies Programme” was first introduced during Semester 1, 2019/2020 when a two-day training programme was conducted in March this year. However, the programme came to a halt due to the movement control order (MCO) and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

A total of 12 participants took part in the virtual meeting which was also attended by both Dr. Aida and Head of Disability Services Unit, Prof. Dr. Ruzita Mohd. Amin, to express gratitude to the ten volunteers for being the first batch of the programme.

“What we are doing is a great thing. We must have the heart, passion and interest to perform such deeds for those in need of help,” said Prof. Ruzita.

At present, the first batch of the Special Buddy Programme consists of ten active volunteers from different Kulliyyahs of the IIUM including Kulliyyah of Education (KOED), Ahmad Ibrahim Kulliyyah of Laws (AIKOL), Kulliyyah of Information Communication Technology (KICT), International Institute for Halal Research and Training (INHART) and Kulliyyah of Islamic Revealed Knowledge and Human Sciences (KIRKHS).

“It helps me become a greater person and a better Muslim when helping others in need. Additionally, I can benefit from this programme in the future when it comes to working with other people with difficulties,” said Maisarah Saufi, one of the volunteers of the programme. 

At the moment, there are over 90 students in the IIUM with disabilities such as those with autism, vision impairment and physical disabilities. Hence, the “Special Buddies Programme” aims to recruit more volunteers in the near future.***

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