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In October 2017, UNICEF teamed up with Petrosains Malaysia to host an inclusive designing and prototyping competition, as known as “Makeathon” in conjunction with the release of a study which shows that six (6) in ten (10) Malaysians surveyed lack knowledge about disability. With this kind of perception going around society, we have to take action to build a more inclusive Malaysia.

UNICEF’s Malaysian Representative, Marianne Clark-Hattingh, delivered the summary of the study to guests and media. Popular Malaysian actress Lisa Surihani, UNICEF’s National Ambassador was also there to congratulate and present the prizes to the “Makeathon” winners.

The “Makeathon” competition proved that disabilities don't limit a person from being creative and innovative. Take 7-year-old Branden Lim for example. Branden's team developed an assistive device which enables children with Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) like Branden to move his wrist to draw, write, and paint. His parents claimed that this “Makeathon” has given them the resources to develop the idea further. More importantly, they have a platform to meet others on the same mission; to turn ideas to reality and to enable children with disabilities to be more involved in society. Because of his team’s creation, Branden won this year’s “Makeathon” and was granted USD5,000 (RM 20,000) to manufacture their winning design for distribution within the disability community in Malaysia.

Branden’s device was one of nine (9) #ThisAbility “Makeathon” 2017 projects. These nine (9) teams showcased a great sense of caring in their projects, such as 9-year-old Ethan Chua and his team who created a pencil-gripping device for Ethan’s friend with cerebral palsy. Opening a colouring box, or trying to grip a coloured pencil is extremely challenging for children with muscle-related disabilities. That is why Ethan, with the help from his parents produced a hook-like device as well as a stationery box which could be used by those with Ethan’s friend’s condition.

UNICEF hopes that this awareness can influence other companies in Malaysia to take part in building a more inclusive Malaysia where people with disabilities can have the opportunity to develop and reach their full potential for everyone’s benefit.

Branden Lim demonstrating his prototype which enables children with spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) to draw, write, and paint.

Ethan Chua showing his prototype with stationery box to assist children with muscle-related disabilities.
(From L-R) YM Tengku Nasariah (Petrosains CEO), Lisa Surihani, Branden’s parents and Branden, and Marianne Clark-Hattingh.
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