BY: Carol Audrey Paul
The feeling is unmistakable as you enter the premises of Brickfields Asia College in Petaling Jaya and pass by the iconic circle in the middle of VSQ and make your way to the elevators. You can’t help but feel inspired.
Concrete floors, KFC takeout’s, long queues with aspiring law students chattering back and forth, carrying heavy books, some eager and some not so much. You ride up the elevators you bump into someone, ONE, TWO, THREE, THREE A, FIVE, and the light beeps up to the sixth floor.
The door opens and there lies an elite workspace home to many remarkable people and you are greeted with warmth from the staff as you enter. Bombarded with daily light-hearted good morning wishes, WhatsApp texts, witty inside jokes, tactful roasts and beaming smiles, The Make It Right Movement, comprises of a bunch of extraordinary individuals that are more than just colleagues. They consists of a group of collective comrades working together that are akin to family.
You’ve probably seen it on BAC advertisements on the LMS page or maybe you have gotten a brief introduction by Brian Lariche, the captain of the ship of the Make it Right Movement during your year-two community service MPU class, but you are probably unaware of the concept behind the parade or know the team on a deeper level.
Brian , with the strong support of the admiral, Raja Singham, chairman of BAC Education Group, states that he is exceptionally proud of what the team has achieved, because the team has accomplished way beyond their capacity with their various seasoned community initiatives that the team has been involved in for the past 5 years.
He is glad that nobody feels odd and everyone is comfortable in their own skin. Ironically at certain times, he finds pleasure seeing the discomfort outsiders feel when meeting the distinct range of personalities in the MIRM team.
He particularly finds it fascinating, when Amanda Kong, who is blind and one of the most intelligent people he knows, is not spoken to directly but to her colleagues instead.
He reminds such people that Amanda is blind and not deaf and can answer for herself. He likes relaxing and bantering with his staff and enjoys the easy and carefree vibe that they foster. Brian’s motto to focus on ability and not the disability.
It has almost become normal to joke about the disabilities of each other in MIRM, in order to educate colleagues from other departments and remove the stigma and awkwardness attached to working with PWDs. For instance, colleagues would often ask Amanda why would she bother to dress nicely, since she is blind and can’t see? She would answer that she dresses for other people to see an appreciate that PWDs also have taste and a fashion sense.
Nicole Jo Pereira states that joining team MIRM in late 2020, could be likened to being set adrift at sea on an adventure. From the very first moment of encountering the team, she quickly observed the chaotic beauty of the way the team is run. The diversity in character and personalities do not stop them from finding common ground. Joining MIRM was truly an experience of a lifetime for her and has changed her perspective on how to live and love life.
MIRM has grown from strength to strength and continues shine the light for the marginalised, especially the PWD community. MIRM projects don’t just raise awareness but also empower and educate and most importantly, develop opportunities for the marginalised communities. MIRM projects have gone national and serve a global market via its international partners who have further validated MIRM by awarding various grants and funding.
MIRM is using this as an opportunity to further develop its staff to develop themselves and go outside their comfort zone in developing their nascent skill sets. At the same time, it hopes to normalise the inclusion of PWDs in society, starting with students and staff of the BAC Education Group.
For me, I was lucky that when I joined the ‘BAC 100 Apprentice Program’ to fill up my time due to the delay of the CLP Examinations this year, I was designated to MIRM. I feel privileged to be there because my colleagues are amazing and friendly. I am also exposed to different tasks that I was not familiar with, thus exposing myself to different areas.
In the wise words of Dominic Toretto, “I don’t have friends I have family.” reiterates the everyday atmosphere whilst working with MIRM, it transcends to more than your usual everyday ‘hello and bye with your colleagues’. The all-inclusive and come as you are approach gives hope to more PWD’s and the ostracized in the society to believe that there is a place for them regardless of the past. It also reflects the inclusive nature of the BAC Education Group who hopes that more companies will follow suit.