By Hanan Sofiyyah Khairul Anwar
GOMBAK, 21 November 2020: Disabled people have proved that they too could achieve many things in life, similar to normal people or perhaps better than them, a webinar was told recently.
“As such, they should try to be independent and stand on their own feet without relying on people around them.”
This view was shared by Mr. Made Wikandana, the co-founder of KOPINUS (Komunitas Peduli Inklusi Nusantara) who is currently working as research assistant for POKJA, an organisation for disabled people in Indonesia.
Wikandana, who preferred to be called Wikan, shared many useful tips regarding the problems faced by disabled people especially the visually impaired community.
“Nobody will affect me. People used to define disabled people by their disability, but that’s not what I see,” Wikan said. Contrary to what other people thought, Wikan denied the idea he is being negatively affected by his disability.
He said that his life as a disabled person has been great as it has taught him not to depend on others.
He therefore urged the audience to “help them, encourage them and be aware of their potential”. But he reminded that “they should work on their own and need to learn how to live independently.”
Wikan told the audience that he wants people in this world to realise that there are many people with disability yet they have a lot of potentials. Hence, he wants people with disabilities to remember that being disabled does not mean their world has come to an end.
“I would like to see my community improve in financial and literacy aspects.” As such, Wikan determines to transfer his knowledge to the disabled people so that they can generate their own money and live independently.
At the same time Wikan has asked others to emphasise the importance of empathy. “For me it is the biggest factor, because in order to be aware of people around you, you need to have the empathy.”
He said that people with disabilities need empathy from others, but they don’t need it too much because if too much empathy is given to the disabled, they will always wait for others’ assistance instead of trying on their own, which results in them not being able to stand by themselves or live independently.
“So many people were amazed when I went to college. For them, it’s impossible for a disabled to get into university,” Wikan shared.
He added, “Living with disabilities is not inspiring, but if you do something and put extra effort into it, regardless of your condition, race or ethnicity, you will achieve everything.”
“No matter how big your dreams are, as long as you put a hundred percent effort into it, you can easily achieve it. People need to focus, be persistent, and passionate in whatever they do to achieve all their goals.”
Wikan hopes to introduce an app that will help the disabled community. He said that he has struggled to move from one place to another, so he understands the feelings of those people who are experiencing the same thing.
This app will make it possible for disabled people to seek for a volunteer to help and assist in their daily needs. For the time being, volunteers are trained virtually; they are placed in sign language classes and are taught on how to interact with disabled people.
Wikan shared that eight years ago when he first lost his sight he suffered a lot and had to depend on people to continue living. But soon after that, he did a lot of reading and meditation to help him figure out for himself.
“It takes time for me to adjust to new conditions yet it is not impossible,” he said.
Wikan also said that not being able to see people around him is one of the advantages because he does not need to see how people stare at him and judge him. He believes that all disabled people should not feel discouraged, instead, they must be confident and believe in themselves.
“You cannot really shape what other people think of you, and you are not able to please everybody. You must control yourself, not anybody else. If you keep listening to others, you will never succeed,” Wikan said.
Ignoring the stigma of the weakness of the disabled, Wikan traveled by himself, attending international conferences outside his country, and was able to enter university and finish earlier than normal people.
Wikan is excited to look forward to his future to earn more achievements in life and will never be satisfied with what he has but will keep improving himself.
The webinar held on Friday (20 November) was organised by COMM 3090 (Professional Speech Communication) class. ***
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