The English department team attended a seminar initiated by Binus Corporate Learning Directorate on May 11, 2015. Acting as the key note speaker for the seminar entitled ‘ Raising awareness toward students with disabilities in Binus University’ was Ms. Mimi Marianu Lusli, the founder and the CEO of Mimi Institute, an organization whose main agenda is to mainstream disability issues to the public. Ms. Mimi holds two bachelor degrees from Sanata Darma and University of Indonesia, a Master degree from Leeds University, United Kingdom and is now doing her Ph.D from a university in the Netherlands. And she has achieved them all with her visual impairment.
Mimi, as she prefers to be called, started the seminar with the story of her personal childhood struggle as a blind girl and the struggles that she had to deal with at ( Indonesian ) schools. She also presented some data on the increasing numbers of people with disabilities and stressed the importance of the ‘mainstream’ world to be aware of their existence by making adjustment .
Mimi repetitively expressed her concerns on the people’s perspectives. During the seminar, her sentences revealed how she wants Indonesians to behave and think on disability :” We don’t take pity and sympathy for our destiny. That is not what we want. It’s time for Indonesian society to accept us as what we are and embrace us as part of your world. We are not burden. We can be your market and we can be productive too”.
Asked about her opinion on the treatment that Binus lecturers should do to some Special Need students in Binus classes, Mimi suggested that there should be some : Additions, Substitutions and perhaps, Omissions to the practices that lecturers usually do in the non – inclusive classes. Mimi stressed that students with disabilities should be helped to help themselves, and to learn hard and work hard like many other students do.
For the majority of us, it was an impressive and inspirational talk. It has really opened our eyes and minds on the issues revolving around people with disability. Thank you Mimi.