Challenges, the Voice of Disability

This Entry has been submitted.

Challenges, the Voice of Disability

Organization type: 
for profit
$100,000 - $250,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Proactive inclusion to mainstream disability into society. Promoting professionalism for dignity in disability.

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

WHO estimates 15 in 100 people globally have some form of disabilities with millions of them living in Asia Pacific. This is the single largest marginalised community globally. While the Biwako Millennium Framework calls for an Inclusive, Barrier-free and Rights-based Society for PWDs in Asia Pacific, the biggest obstacle remains negative stereotyping and attitudinal misconception. Many Asian cultures perceive disability as karma or paying for past lives misdeeds. Mainstream media portrayals of persons with disabilities perpetuate negative perceptions that disability is a fearful condition or sensationalised based on the 3Ps of Prevention (Disability is a tragedy and disabled is a condition that must be cured) Pity (that Disabled People are charity cases) Pedestal (Highlighting mainly disabled overachievers who triumph over tragedy). Locally,fear of stigmatisation and lack of awareness, results in only 300,000 Malaysians with disabilities registered. Such actions deprive many children born with disabilities of early intervention and habilitation.About 20,000 children are born with some form of disabilities annually.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

Challenges is Malaysia’s 1st cross-disability national magazine targeting persons with disabilities (whether congenital or acquired, from trauma, chronic diseases and ageing), parents, families, carers, NGOs, youth, educators, practitioners in Human Resource, CSR , healthcare and medical sectors, providers of hospitality, tourism and related services, proponents of universal design of built environment, products and facilties. At Challenges, we see ‘Disability’ as a ‘Diamond’. An uncut priceless gem, that we will polish with care, revealing in subsequent issues, the various facets of this ‘D’ that is so close to our hearts. Like the diamond cutter, our aim is not to attack, but to selectively bring forth the inherent brilliance that lies within. As the media platform for knowledge and empowering experiences in disability, we seek to change mindsets; to redefine perceptions of disability and its issues, not only amongst the public but also within the disability community as well. We believe there is no better advocate than a self advocate. Challenges mentors persons with disabilities to be independent, skilled media professionals, self-advocates creating a positive Voice of Disability, Starting with a glossy full colour English national magazine, targeted at policy makers in public and corporate sectors, our eventual goal is to build an Asian disability media network for Asians with disabilities in various languages, with our own online internet radio/tv channel, offering information, connectivity and employment to persons with disabilities.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

I believe that PWDs have the right to live full enriching lives like everyone else in their communities and strive to create a parallel lifestyle for PWDs, sharing disability issues and activities to promote independence and proactive inclusion of Persons with Disabilities within their communities I want to establish a comprehensive online media platform for a virtual PWD/inclusive community with space for knowledge sharing, interactive mentoring and capacity building and disability rights advocacy. This online disability media interactive multi-lingual platform will enable all to share and read/hear news/articles in their preferred language. We will be able to post video clips with captioning for deaf viewers, and other eaccessibility features for print disabled, low vision and blind viewers. It would be a portal where we can also do b2u and b2b transaction with products from the NGOs and PWDs, there will be a work/biz section for disability employment/enterpreneurship deveoopment, a recreation section promoting recreation and lifestyle accessible services and facilities. There will be a volunteer/youth leadership section to inculcate disability advocates amongst our next generation for sustainable manpower in disability work. I hope to build a collaborative network of all parties involved in disability advocacy, develop sustainable programs for economic empowerment and human capacity development Our current projects include: Challenges Economic Empowerment Development (CEED) program, Disability Sport and VSA (Very Special Arts) Initiatives.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

Traditional mainstream media and new social media As a disability focused media , we can provide concerted niche reporting that is not possible by the other media platforms. However, we do not have the manpower or economic resources of more popular /mainstream media
About You
Challenges/Essential Associates Sdn Bhd
About You
First Name


Last Name


Twitter URL
About Your Organization
Organization Name

Challenges/Essential Associates Sdn Bhd

Organization Country

, SL

Country where this project is creating social impact

, XX

How long has your organization been operating?

1‐5 years

The information you provide here will be used to fill in any parts of your profile that have been left blank, such as interests, organization information, and website. No contact information will be made public. Please uncheck here if you do not want this to happen..

Select the stage that best applies to your solution

Start-Up (a pilot that has just begun operating)

How long have you been in operation?

Operating for 1‐5 years

Social Impact
FOUNDING STORY: We want to hear about your “Aha!” moment. Share the story of where and when the founder(s) saw this solution’s potential to change the world.

Challenges is our social entrepreneurial project, conceptualised during a disability network discussion on International Day of Persons with Disabilities 2006. I had wondered aloud about the significance of this day to Malaysians with disabilities.
It seemed to be a day when we dust it off the shelf, and store it again after its one-week celebration.
But year in and year out we were facing the same issues in disability. As parents of special children, we watch them grow, disabled not by their conditions, but by barriers in their environment, and lack of appropriate facilities and services.
Time waits for no man and we really cannot afford to sit and wait for the right support system to be in place, while our children grow.
But why must Malaysians with disabilities wait to live a normal life like everyone else around them? They just want to have an education, have fun, fall in love, build a career, start a family: all the daily experiences of living Life with a capital ‘L’. It’s their right to have a Life – Now

Specify both the depth and scale of your solution’s social impact to date

Challenges is for all Malaysians (Asians) with, or involved in disability to share experiences, and support. By sharing experiences, we not only bring the public into our special world; but we may also help another person with the same need to move forward.
We promote the concept of a “parallel lifestyle” for PWDs in their communities.
Eg. Instead of demanding all eating outlets to redo their places to accommodate PWDs (and wait in vain), we seek out places that are already doing it and promote their services/premises in Challenges. Likewise, shopping malls, tourist spots, and all places offering daily/healthcare/habilitation/rehabilitation/education/recreation/lifestyle services. By encouraging PWDs and their network of supporters to patronise these places; our message is two-fold:
To PWDS, family members/supporters, we say “You can have a life now; enjoy a meal out or a day out with your friends and at places that are accessible for you.”
To service providers, we promote their accessible services and facilities.

We seek to mainstream disability into the national public/private/csr agenda with articles, events on recreation, education, health, employment, CSR, access

What is your projected impact within the next 1-5 years? Is your idea replicable? If so, how?

Mindset change in corporate, public policy makers.
PWDs, carers, providers, NGOs - public, private, people network towards a rights-based model of disability

enable corporate/public sectors to mainstream disability into their policies and realise principles of PWD Act 685 and UN CRPD.

empower PwDs, carers with positive role models, support groups

promote eaccess and ICT, universal design in products, services and facilities.

Move NGOs from charity, donation for disability to sustainable social enterprise, self generating funding models.

Initiate Challenges in Bahasa Malaysia to reach out to more Malaysians with disabilities, while building an online Challenges for Asian PWDs connectivity.

Winning entries present a strong plan for how they will achieve and mark growth. Identify your six-month milestone for growing your impact

2012 Jan - June : to initiate Challenges in Bahasa Malaysia (BM) and Braille

Six-Month Tasks
Task 1

For Challenges in Braille : ensure Challenges is produce in a DAISY compliant word format for conversion. Allocate funds.

Task 2

For Challenges BM, build editorial team of PWDS for BM section in Klang Valley; source fund, identify talents.

Task 3

Establish contributors on site in North, South, Eas zones t of Malaysia and East Malaysia. Build readership and subscriber base

Now think bigger! Identify your 12-month impact milestone

Challenges web portal with internet radio.podcast, online interviews/news streaming available in English, Mandarin, BM, Tamil,

12-Month Tasks
Task 1

identify a webmaster, allocate funds for building web portal on a bi-annual projection,

Task 2

Identify, train, maintain staff to write and upload media contents, maintain interactive conversations with listners, viewers.

Task 3

Organise events to ensure interaction is offline as well as online, outreach events to target groups without online access.

How many people have been impacted by your project?

More than 10,000

How many people could be impacted by your project in the next three years?

More than 10,000

Explain how your company, program, service or product is structured

Hybrid model

What barriers have hindered the success of your project to date? How do you plan to overcome these and other challenges as you grow your solution?

I need skilled professionals to work with me in moving Challenges forward.
I wish committed expertiste to either mentor the youth with disabilities in media , business design , web skills or help with marketing the magazine, publication and event management tasks.
to implement ISO90001 to provide a guide for the staff with disabilities to work systematically

It has been a one woman project for the past three years, It can be tiring to plan, organise, implement, run , advocate, market, as well as the daily work of publishing a magazine.

An online presence is vital to Challenges development, however my visual impairment prevents my full ivolvement in this aspect, very frustrating as I am a hands on person. I need to develop a simple template for quick professional updates

How do you see the information-technology and media sectors shifting over the next decade? How will your solution adapt to and/or drive that changing environment?

Challenges will build a strong web presence, with online reader friendly versions in different languages, as well as webcasts with autocaptions, podcast, an online disability ASEAN radio network providing an inclusive media portal managed by PWDs.

The internet provides an accessible platform for disability advocacy and connectivity.
Whether you are deaf, blind, print disabled or with muscular conditions, adaptive and assistive devices enables all to communicate interactively.

Failure is not always an option. If your solution fails to gain traction in the next two years, what other applications of the idea could you explore?

Disability advocacy starts with changing one person out there at a time; whether face to face, via text, photos, online medium, Challenges as the voice of disability will persist, ableit in just one medium or multimedia format will depend on how we can develop and move it forward

Expand on your selections, explaining how you will sustain funding

marketing, advertisement, subscriptio,n the conventional funds for media that we will mentor our team to pursue professionally.

To move disability out of charity, I do not seek donations. Instead I seek corporate mass subscriptions to enable us to send the magazines to hospitals, waiting rooms, school libraries, and NGOs. We ask financial institutions , companies with branches to take out subscriptions for their branch offices for disability awareness.
We ask individuals to take up gift , festive subscriptions for friends, family and their favourite charities
also : event organisation and related sponsorship to move projects.
Writing grant proposal is a skill that I need to master for such fund resources, to promote our mentorship and CEED activities.

Tell us about your partnerships

We build partnerships on editorial section/ project basis.
eg disability football, partners: ministry of sports and youth, corporate football clubs, football associations, NGOs, special schools, community based rehab centres footballers, coaches, corporate sponsors.

our eco project, we work with all relevant environmental stakeholders, for public, private and people partnerships, innovating ways to mainstream disability into it.

child abuse: partners childline malaysia, police, social welfare, children activists
women health: related groups etc

What type of team (staff, volunteers, etc.) will ensure that you achieve the growth milestones identified in the Social Impact section?

If we want to move disability out of charity , we must promote professionalism in their work, give them the skills and expertise so that they can do their work as professionals.
Committed professionals who love to mentor youth with disabilities in media , business skills as ultimately i hope to build this team to run this media platform.
Evolving needs require different dynamic teams and support.

Changemakers is a collaborative and supportive space. Please specify any community resources you would need to grow and sustain your initiative. Select all that apply

Investment, Human resources or talent, Marketing or media, Research or information, Collaboration or networking, Pro-bono help (legal, financial, etc.), Innovation or ideas, Mentorship.

Specify any resources you might offer to support other initiatives. Select all that apply

Marketing or media, Research or information, Collaboration or networking, Innovation or ideas, Mentorship.

Please elaborate on any needs or offers you have mentioned above and/or suggest categories of support that aren’t specified within the list

buidling our virtual disability community network with an interactive web portal

if there is a need for disability advocacy support, count us in.

Define your company, program, service or product in 1-2 short sentences

Challenges, the Voice of Disability, the media platform by and for Persons with Disabilities and everyone else.