“Energy and persistence conquer all things.” This quote by Benjamin Franklin resonates well with those who are faced with challenges yet managed to overcome them through the sheer persistence and determination they have within themselves and no community demonstrates this better than persons with disabilities (PWDs). It is therefore commendable to observe parties who provide initiatives to assist and support this part of the community in ensuring that they are not left behind. One such group and initiative in which the Make It Right Movement (MIRM) had the privilege to collaborate with is none other than the leading global provider of content-enabled workflow solutions, LexisNexis®.
According to the website of LexisNexis® provides customers with access to billions of searchable documents and records from more than 45,000 legal, news and business sources to help customers in their marketplace. LexisNexis® is sincerely respected for taking steps in order to reach out to the PWDs and for taking the opportunity to collaborate with MIRM in providing programmes and initiatives on how to encourage those with disabilities to pursue a legal career.
MIRM has also supported the “Disability Awareness Fireside Chat” with LexisNexis® with the objective to create awareness on the need for diversity and inclusion for LexisNexis® employees, along with the challenges faced by the PWDs community, especially those who are working or pursuing education or a career in the legal field. The panel, which includes Mr. Brian Lariche (Head of the Make It Right Movement), Ms. Amanda Kong Hwei Zhen, and a blind practicing lawyer from Singapore, also provided and explained the necessary initiatives in order to accommodate the PWDs at the workplace including the use of inclusive language when communicating with the PWDs.
In July 2021, MIRM has also commenced a mentorship programme to encourage PWDs who are interested to pursue legal education or those who are currently pursuing their legal education to explore the various avenues of career development and personal development. Currently, there are two mentors, including Ms. Amanda Kong , who is visually-impaired and has been called to the Malaysian Bar. These mentors are currently providing guidance to three mentees, including 2 blind individuals who are law graduates.
MIRM is also managing other initiatives with the objective of providing avenues for the PWD community to seek employment opportunities as well as the opportunities to learn new skills and to further develop themselves. MIRM started the SpecialJobs website (specialjobs.com.my) which is an online job platform where individuals with special needs may upload their resumes or portfolios and seek employment opportunities. The website also provides employers with a dedicated space for job postings offering inclusive employment. Therefore, SpecialJobs would be able to provide a match for both jobseekers as well as employers. SpecialJobs also provides articles and opinions which may assist employees in obtaining an employment or assist employers on how to provide a more inclusive environment for those with disabilities.
With the collective contributions by all relevant parties and efforts by LexisNexis® and MIRM, as well as other parties, better opportunities and avenues will be provided to PWDs in order to encourage them to pursue their dream careers and to pursue the skills they wish to have and to lead to a more inclusive work environment.