BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN – The Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports (MCYS) has approved the allocation of government land for Brunei’s Council for the Welfare of Persons with Different Ability.

Known by its Malay acronym, MKOKU, the council was established on December 3, 2016, as an umbrella organisation for nine NGOs representing people with disabilities.

MCYS permanent secretary Datin Paduka Dr Hjh Norlila Dato Paduka Hj Abd Jalil said the government has designated a plot of land in Rimba for the council to construct its headquarters. The government will also finance the construction of a multipurpose hall.

“Each NGO [from the council] will be assigned a piece of plot which will be centered around a common area where a multipurpose hall will be constructed for the organisations to share,” she told The Scoop in a recent interview.

“We hope that with the completion of the multipurpose hall, differently-abled individuals will have a place to further develop their potential… We want them to be independent, to navigate through life freely and to contribute to the community.

“But for those who are unable to, we wish them to be fully supported and taken care of in society”.

Datin Dr Hjh Norlila said that while the government will provide the land for free, each NGO is responsible for raising funds to build their own facilities.

She urged private stakeholders to reach out to the organisations to help them secure funds, stressing that large companies should consider sponsoring construction as part of their corporate social responsibility.

The NGOs that make up MKOKU are: the Centre for Children with Special Needs; the Paraplegic and Physically Disabled Association; Pusat Ehsan; the Brunei Down Syndrome Association; Special Olympics Brunei Darussalam; the Society for Management of Autism Related issues in Training, Education and Resources; Learning Ladders; the Brunei Darussalam National Association of the Blind; and the National Association of the Hearing Impaired.