USM KUBANG KERIAN, 23 Sept. 2018 – When a normal person can use his hands to write and type on a computer, Muhammad Hadi Darus, 22, had to rely on his feet to do so.
The young man from Pendang, Kedah, also had to drag himself to move and fortunately there was a wheelchair that allowed him to go quite a bit. He was born with small hands, very much unusable along with both legs being deformed, causing him not being able to stand or walk.
However, due of his determination and strength, he managed to overcome all the shortcomings and set foot on the campus of Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia (USIM).
The determination of the undergraduate student in pursuing a Bachelor's Degree in Shari’ah and Law caught the attention of Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) and Hadi was presented with a state-of-the-art customised motorised wheelchair recently by the university.
In addition, Hadi also received a pair of modified “knee-shoes”, tailored specifically to his profile and needs to provide him the ease of mobility in his academic journey and life.
Professor Datuk Dr. Asma Ismail, the Vice-Chancellor of USM said the achievement and the determination of Hadi is compelling and the university decided to present him the modified wheelchair and the knee-shoes as a form of ‘waqaf’ contribution.
“Nothing is more thrilling than seeing him achieving his dream of becoming a lawyer within a year or so. The customised wheelchair, which is not only foldable and motorised for easier movement, is also lighter than what is available currently in the market. He can charge his mobile phone on the motorised wheelchair and we believe that it will provide more access to him in his daily routines.
“USM also believes that every differently-abled individual is unique and we need to look into how we can ensure mobility to this marginalised society. Today, USM provides him the tool that we believe would suit his needs and we are proud to know that we played a role towards making him a game changer in society. After all, we have a very strong relationship with USIM and with the many experts that we have in this field, we feel compelled to help,” she said at the session when presenting the wheelchair to Hadi at the USM Health Campus here today.
Meanwhile, Hadi described this experience as highly motivating and USM truly embodies the APEX spirit in lifting up the marginalised.
“Although I’ve been self-motivating myself to try doing everything that a normal person does, the attention given by USM truly touches me and inspires me to chart a better future in life,” he said.
When asked on what is the secret of his academic success, Hadi's answer is rather simple. Always seek the blessings of the elders, including when studying and never shy away in caring for one’s parents.
The modified wheelchair was developed by the Wheelchair Team, USM School of Health Sciences and Prosthetic and Orthotics Medical Technician, Rehabilitation Medical Unit at Hospital USM.
The wheelchair only weighs 12 kilogrammes, compared to another 'motorised wheelchair' weighing up to 20 kilogrammes.
According to Asma, USM, especially through the School of Health Sciences (PPSK), is committed to the development projects for people with disabilities, including the Wheelchair Special Modification Project since 2013 through a memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed between USM and Rajanagarindra Institute of Child Development (RICD) Thailand, an initiative under the Division of Industry and Community Network (BJIM).
The ceremony was also attended by the Director of USM Health Campus, Professor Dato' Dr. Ahmad Sukari Halim; Director of USIM Strategic Communications Centre (StraComm), Professor Dr. Mohamad Yahya Ariffin; Patient Transformation Programme Advisor, PPSK, Associate Professor Dr. Mohamed Saat Ismail and Coordinator, OKU Transformation Unit, cum Head of Special Wheel Modification Project, PPSK, Dr. Mohd Zulkifli Abdul Rahim.
Text: Lailatul Hafiza Abdul Rashid/Photos: Wan Mohd Rashidi Wan Mood