Wiki Impact celebrates Teacher’s Day 2023 by honouring teachers who go above and beyond to ensure that all children, regardless of their socio-economic status, citizenship, abilities, or background, have access to education. Their names may not immediately ring a bell, but these unsung heroes have positively impacted countless lives and futures.
Education and learning take on various forms, extending beyond reading and writing. Centres and schools play a crucial role in equipping their students with essential life skills that enhance their lives. Individuals with disabilities, such as People with Disabilities (PWDs), particularly benefit from these skills in leading meaningful lives.
Sumitha Ramasamy’s journey began at the Malaysian Blind Association (MAB), an organization dedicated to serving the visually impaired community. Initially, Sumitha did not plan to become a part of the teaching team at MAB after graduating from the University of Malaya with a Degree in Mass Communication. She joined MAB as an instructor temporarily while waiting for job offers in broadcasting companies like RTM or TV3. 25 years have passed since then.
After witnessing the impact MAB could have on the community, Sumitha decided to stay and contribute directly.
I thought that if I stayed, I could make a bigger impact. I wanted to give the blind community an opportunity to be trained adequately. By ensuring that they get the right certificate, they can step out and eventually be employed. That would give me tremendous satisfaction.
Starting as an instructor, Sumitha climbed the ranks at MAB and became a teacher after eight years. Until 2018, Sumitha served as the principal at MAB overseeing various programmes and centres for the education and training division. Following that, she was entrusted with establishing and running the research and innovation wing of the association, which showcased her extensive knowledge and years of service.B offers various courses tailored to blind children under the age of seven through their Early Intervention Programme, preparing them for mainstream education.
MAB also trains adults who are blind or have recently gotten blind to prepare them for the job market and live independent lives. For deaf and blind individuals, MAB also provides training and support in order for them to succeed.
For those who are deaf-blind, we continue to train them at MAB because there are currently no deaf-blind programmes in Malaysian schools
As part of preparing visually impaired adults for the real world, Sumitha teaches her students life skills and educates them about their rights, responsibilities, and available social protection resources such as SOCSO and EPF.
Dealing with individuals who recently became blind posed a significant challenge, as some experienced trauma, depression, and rejection while adjusting to their new reality.
Blind adults have different things to adjust to. Those who suddenly lost their sight or a person who just got blind have to deal with trauma and other emotions. Some have experienced depression and rejection as many couldn’t accept the fact that they were blind.
Until 2018, Sumitha served as the principal at MAB overseeing various programmes and centres for the education and training division. Following that, she was entrusted with establishing and running the research and innovation wing of the association, which showcased her extensive knowledge and years of service.
Although research is not her primary expertise, Sumitha expressed excitement about collaborating with notable local universities to enhance the quality of life for visually impaired individuals nationwide.
I work with different universities to develop locally made, affordable and accessible prototypes and gadgets specifically designed for the visually impaired community. It is very meaningful to me.
Sumitha’s story exemplifies the importance of giving back to the community and trusting the process to lead to personal fulfilment. Despite MAB’s location in Brickfields, which is considered one of the most inclusive areas for the blind community with its tactile pathways, there is still work to be done to prevent accidents involving the community.
Nonetheless, Sumitha firmly believes in making the world a better place. Her unwavering dedication and passion serve as an inspiration to create a more inclusive and compassionate society.
If I had the power to change the world, I would like to make it a better place to live in, filled with kinder people.