PETALING JAYA: Little people should claim their place in society by showing their worth, the National Organisation of Dwarfs Malaysia said.
Its president Jasmi Shafie (pix) said both society and little people are responsible in trying to level the playing field for those diagnosed with dwarfism. While society needs to look beyond their shortness, little people need to step up to the plate, he said.
“Little people are not just entertainers,” Jasmi said.
“We are like everybody else, we do work, get married and have families too. It is imperative to know that we have equal opportunities and equal standing just like others.”
He urged little people to register with the association.
“We want them to come forward. It is one of the ways to empower our little community with pride so that they can stand tall.”
The non-governmental organisation has 986 members nationwide. It aims to help them by providing free consultation and training in their areas of interest to improve their knowledge and skills to become more self-reliant.
He explained that most little people are timid and lack confidence to step up and tackle life’s challenges.
“Usually, the little people feel inferior and we would always advise them to be high-spirited to lead this life,“ Jasmi said.
He pointed out that the association also serves as a platform to exchange ideas and share stories on life’s struggles and experiences for little people.
Jasmi said it would also assist them to get disability cards to register with the Social Welfare Department to claim their benefits.
“They must know what benefits they are entitled to. They can claim certain benefits such as monthly allowance, scholarships, tax rebates and free treatment at public hospitals.”
He said a person with a disability who earns not less than RM1,200 per month can apply to the department for extra monthly allowance.
“Do not let your disabilities become a stumbling block and prevent you from competing with others,“ he said.
Those who are interested to join the association may call Jasmi at 03-4023 5302 or 012-3009913.