GEMAS: N Wisam Ujang, 45, was born normal and led a normal life until an accident in 1995 robbed him of his sight.
Subsequently he was terminated from work on medical grounds and was left helpless. He only had a loving family and few friends by his side.
He had deep faith in God and continued his life with the support from his wife and friends.
Instead of remaining idle at home N Wisam, whose name is spelled in this peculiar way, earned a certificate in massage and reflexology from the Malaysian Association For The Blind and set out to earn a living by providing massage.
He started small, from his house using only a mat. At times he would be called to people’s homes to provide massage services.
Initially, it was difficult even to earn RM250 per month as he was dependent on customers around Kampung Seri Gemas, a rural village.
However, things have changed now. After 12 years of persevering N Wisam could now help sustain his family with his earnings.
In 2009, his reputation as a good masseur received the attention of the Gemas Sub District and Land Office that built him a room worth RM10,000 complete with a bathroom to help him in his trade.
“Thank God. Previously, I use to conduct the massage sessions in a hall, with my wife and three children moving about.
“The hall was small, and therefore it was quite inconvenient for my customers. Some of the customers used to be shy in front of my wife and children,” he told Bernama.
N Wisam starts receiving customers from 10am. Initially he only provided massage but now his customers could also enjoy a hot sauna after a massage.
He has also received a launching grant worth RM2,700 from the Social Welfare Department which he used to buy a bed, an air conditioning unit, water filtration system and other necessities for the trade.
The grant provided under the 1Malaysia People’s Welfare (Kar1sma) also helped him to promote his business through flyers.
In helping to add value to his services, he received two sauna sets worth RM3,100 under the same programme.
“Starting with just a mat, now I provide complete facilities for my customers. Now with a sauna, I could earn between RM500-RM550 per month,” said this masseur who has the expertise in healing the veins and muscles through massage.
His wife, Rahmah Mukhtar, 45, received two sewing machine from the Gemas Sub District and Land Office to help complement her husband’s income.
She had some skills in sewing and began taking orders from around the village.
N Wisam also pointed out the RM100 special assistance provided by the government was very much helpful in his children’s schooling.
“As the head of the family, it is my responsibility to earn an income. Many disabled people have succeeded, and why not me?
“Numerous opportunities are available in the country for the disabled people to improve their livelihood,” he said.
It is important that the public gives you support, not sympathy, said N Wisam.
What happens when a man and his wife are disabled individuals?
This is the case of Tee Koh Leong, 58, and wife Tey Gek Peng, 50, who were crippled by polio since young.
Tey participated in the 1Azam programme that has helped her to expand her sewing business and educate her only daughter.
She is skilled in sewing and beadwork.
She also alters jeans at her shop located at a bus stand. She too received the sewing machine under the same programme.
With the machine, she was able to take in more orders and improve her earnings to RM400 per month compared with RM100 previously.
Her husband repairs television sets and radios, and both conduct their trades in the same shop. However, their business was affected by the flood in 2012.
“We had no time to save our belongings during the floods. Luckily, with the RM300 (Disabled Employee Allowance under Karisma OKU) monthly allowance, we managed to replace some of the damaged equipment,” noted Tee.
It is a different scenario for S Amaiyaparthevar, 46, who has been suffering from dexterity impairment since an accident in 1987.
Last April fate dealt him another cruel blow when he suffered a heart attack.
Since then he has been undergoing regular treatment at the National Heart Institute (IJN) but believes it is not an excuse for him to idle or depend on his wife.
“The doctors say he can’t do much, but he feels he is strong and is very confident. Now, he is much better and could help me at the shop,” said his wife K Kaliammah, 40.
The family had to incur additional expenses as they had to buy medications for Amaiyaparthevar.
His family is thankful for the 1Malaysia People’s Aid(BR1M) aid worth RM500 that has helped to alleviate their burden.
The stories of these four people indicate that there are many ways of improving our standard of living.
These special people need not worry of their future, as the government is always there to take care of their needs. — Bernama