Strengthening inclusion of the PWD community through online kindness with Digi Yellow Heart
byBellsa26-07-201911:29 AM - edited 01-08-201901:39 PM
Have you ever been bullied or cyberbullied before simply because you’re different? We hear you and we understand. In fact, the marginalised persons with disability (PWD) community or the rare disease community are the many few who experience bullying due to their different physical appearances or conditions. Which is why Digi Yellow Heart has been advocating to strengthen inclusion through raising awareness of bullying and cyberbullying through online kindness.
We sat down with Digi’s Head of Sustainability, Phillip Ling; Classic Mrs. Malaysia International Global, Melinda Khoo; and Sivasangaran Kumuran, a father of a two year-old diagnosed with Infantile Pompe, to understand the struggles and hope the PWD community wishes to combat.
What are the different challenges and discrimination that the PWD community face from society? According to Philip, the community often face bulling and cyberbullying from their peers. Adding to this, Melinda who is also a mother of a child with rare disease believes that bullying comes in many forms including exclusion. From getting rejected at schools to being shunned upon by other parents, she expresses that it burdens her to see her son not being accepted by society.
How can organisations/companies play a role in raising the awareness to prevent discrimination? Philip mentioned that bigger organisations can raise more awareness on the issues faced by the PWD community. This includes showcasing inclusiveness via corporate videos, advertisements and through real-life stories. . “We believe that kindness must be nurtured from the school level and have organised multiple initiatives to educate children on how to build digital resilience. Having a strong online community on our social media assets, Digi hopes to provide the minority communities with a platform that allows them to highlight their plights and raise awareness of building a more accepting society. We have created a series of videos featuring the stories of patients with rare diseases in hopes that Malaysians will be kinder and more understanding to others,” he said.
Apart from that, Melinda strongly leverages on her role as Classic Mrs. Malaysia International Global to advocate for rare diseases, especially among children. She said, “I believe that those with rare diseases are not limited by their disabilities, but rather the exclusion in society. This is why I champion for awareness and inclusiveness of those with rare diseases, in hopes that children with rare diseases will receive equal opportunity to education, career choices and the same chance to shine.”
What are the expectations or hopes you have for the PWD community in the future? Besides inclusion and educating the public on the vulnerabilities that the community is exposed to, Sivasangaran believes the lack of information around most rare diseases has a huge psychological, emotional and financial impact on the patients, family and caregivers.
His wish – an implementation of rare disease policy that begins with an official definition for rare disease and rare disease registry. This will prevent challenges such as such as delays in diagnosis, misdiagnosis, mismatch of treatments and a lack of access to affordable drugs that are often faced by the patients.
“Recent years have seen a rise in inclusion awareness for minorities and those with disabilities, but rare diseases in particular have been neglected. We are appealing for rare diseases to be recognised at a parliament level so we can rally the political support to create a holistic, long term solution for patients. We fight for awareness so the next generation can live better,” he said.
in efforts to support the community, Digi is also offering lifetime rebates on Digi Postpaid plans for Malaysians who are registered as PWD/OKU. For more information on the plans available, click here.