The Malaysian Council for Rehabilitation (MCR) organised a High Tea event themed, ‘International Abilympics Hi-Tea’ recently at the Seri Pacific Hotel, Kuala Lumpur to raise funds for the 15 participants (“Abilympians”) who will represent the country at the 10th International Abilympics scheduled to take place in Moscow, Russia next year.

What is Abilympics?

Abilympics originates from the phrase, ‘Olympics of Abilities’. It is an international vocational skills competition for Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) and aims to showcase the potential capabilities of PWDs that they have skills on par with anyone else and therefore encourages a surge in employment opportunities for them,” Datin Paduka (Dato’) Khatijah Sulieman, the President of the Malaysian Council for Rehabilitation (MCR) explained.

Datin Paduka Khatijah Suleiman

MCR is the co-ordinating body responsible for organising the Abilympics Competition in Malaysia; a national skills competition for PWDs that selects qualified PWDs to represent the country at the International Abilympics Competition.

The afternoon Hi-Tea event kicked-off with the arrival of YBhg Dato’ M. Mahmood Merican, the founder member and Advisor of MCR. Datin Paduka (Dato’) Khatijah welcomed him as well as the guests, and delivered an enlightening speech, which also saw her thanking all those who made the event, as well as Abilympics Malaysia a success. This was followed by a 10-minute video presentation on International Abilympics and introduction of the Abilympians. YBhg Dato’ M. Mahmood Merican then presented a special recognition plaque to the partners and sponsors and of Abilympics Malaysia.

The main partner of Abilympics Malaysia is Allianz Malaysia Berhad. As the main partner, Allianz has been helping Abilympics Malaysia to generate more awareness on their efforts of professional development and the employability potential of the PWD community.

Besides this, the great efforts of Abilympics Malaysia’s strategic partners in training the selected participants to enhance their skills to compete at the International Abilympics Competition are also greatly recognised. These strategic partners are the Ministry of Education Malaysia, Department of Polytechnic and Community College Education; the Ministry of Human Resources, Department of Skills Development, Centre for Instructor and Advanced Skill Training (CIAST); Faculty of Art and Design of University Technology MARA; Lee Flower Design Academy and Dr. Sabzali Musa Kahn.Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB) among others, is  the Hi-Tea event sponsor.

“Our Abilympians are empowered not only to live their dream, but are also encouraged through employment opportunities which elevate their skills and living standards. These could not have materialised without the support of those who have constantly strived with us,” said Datin Paduka (Dato’) Khatijah referring to the sponsors, strategic partners and supporters of Abilympics Malaysia.

Alympian demonstrating silk painting at MCR fund raising hitea

The event continued with tea being served as the 350 guests were entertained by bands; Dinie n Khai and Eyelitz.

Throughout the event, there were exhibition booths set just outside of the Seri Pacific hotel ballroom, where guests saw the works of the Abilympians. The Malaysian Abilympians will be participating in 15 of the 30 categories at the international level among which are; floral arrangement, painting, embroidery, cooking, photography and word processing. These Abilympians were selected from the 2018 National Abilympics Championship held at several locations around the Klang Valley.

“I earnestly believe that with great support, we will be able to accomplish all that we desire in our hearts,” Datin Paduka (Dato’) Khatijah concluded.

The untiring effort of recognising and training talents among PWDs has enabled Malaysia to bag its first gold medal in 2011 at the 8th International Abilympics held in Seoul, South Korea, and subsequently another gold medal in 2016 at the 9th International Abilympics held in Bordeaux, France. The next Abilympics is scheduled to take place in Moscow, Russia in 2020 with 15 participants from Malaysia.