With the existing assistive technology and the power of Internet, Learning Includes, an accessible virtual/ mobile tuition platform for the visually impaired (VI) / blind and other disabled students was launched in 2017 by us, DIA Academy Sdn Bhd (formerly known as DID MY Academy Sdn Bhd( and SOS Missions, in collaboration with Sasbadi Online and MindTech Education, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Malaysian leading public listed education publisher, Sasbadi Holdings Bhd. With the support from AAEON Specs International Foundation, MAGIC Penjana and GlobalGiving , the project has expanded to aid an additional 60 special education students between 10 to 18.
Unequal access to education is a prevailing problem faced by the visually impaired / blind and other PWD students globally, including our students in Malaysia. These students are often left behind in their studies, hindering them to progress in education that plays a significant role in securing better job opportunity.
This is mainly due to the limitation of braille books, (i.e. not updated timely, low portability, expensive to produce) that is used as the primary education resource in the current education landscape (Zheng 2014). The VI / Blind students were also less motivated to perform better in their study, besides receiving less interaction, encouragement and involvement from the parents as more than half of them are staying in the school hostel.
On the other hand, the often neglected VI / blind and other disabled graduates in Malaysia are facing challenges to secure dignified jobs even with suitable qualifications (Sinar Harian Online 2017, Astro Awani 2018).
Marginalised by discrimination and misunderstanding in the society, majority of them are left with no choice but to work as masseuses, telemarketers and other jobs despite having the ability and potential to perform in other works. Not to mention that the charity paradigm and mindset that is custom to the south-east Asian community, which include Malaysia, further widen the gap of disabled community from the others, as they are given opportunities on the basis of sympathy and not based on their potential (World Economic Forum 2017). As a result, this community is trapped in a cycle of poverty.3+
Coming to the fifth year of the project, we have expanded to another 40 VI / blind and another 20 Autistic and mentally challenge studens as we strive towards bringing them one step closer towards equal education by providing them with the most accessible and blind-friendly virtual learning platform in the market to date. This platform offers the students educational resources i.e. notes, trilingual dictionaries, practices, video lessons and sample exam paper that is hard; if not totally unavailable to them prior to this project’s intervention. It has assisted the teacher from the special / mixed school in lesson planning thus helps in reducing their workload. In 2021 we also partnered with a Social Organisation from Pakistan, Wonder Tree Learning Group, to offer online Augmented Reality learning games to help the mentally challenges youths and children improve their learning capacities. For this learning project we are collaborating with a local private learning center, Breakthrough Learning Centre and to provide this learning tool to help this mentally impaired students.In the long term we pray and ope that our Online learning platform will be a resourceful platform for all students irregardless of their impaired and medical conditions.
The project has also provided meaningful and dignified job opportunities to 3 VI / blind graduates as virtual tuition coach that were previously deprived off them. The VI / blind graduates were trained, empowered and equipped with computer skills, coaching skills, soft skills e.g. communication skills, as well as serving as role models to inspire and motivate VI / blind students to never give up and also aiding them to improve in their studies.
Through our finding, the Social Return on Investment ratio for the current project is 1.10:1 (rounded off from 1.:1) which indicates that there is RM 1.10 worth social value received by our beneficiaries (the students and blind coaches) for every RM 1 invested.
Through this project, we aim to meet four of the United Nation Sustainable Development Goals which are (1) Quality Education, (2) Decent Work and Economic Growth, (3) Reducing Inequalities and (4) Partnerships for the Goals.Attachments: