I’m Ikram Ishak, a 24-year-old from Perlis, Malaysia. I’ve faced challenges throughout my life due to being a Person with Disabilities (PWD) since birth. Despite these obstacles, I’ve found strength in my journey, particularly through my association with ENOKU, a social enterprise dedicated to bridging the gap between PWDs and employers.
I was born with a hearing disability, requiring the use of hearing aids. Growing up as the youngest of three siblings in Perlis, I attended SMK Pendidikan Khas Persekutuan, a special education school for students with disabilities. Despite my disability, I was determined to excel academically and earned my Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia.
My life wasn’t without hurdles. I had to adapt to a different environment early on, as I attended a boarding school from Standard One. Despite my capabilities, I faced discrimination when I was denied entry to a teaching school, which was a dream I knew I could achieve. Instead, I ended up working in jobs that didn’t reflect my true potential, including factory work and the food and beverage industry.
My life took a positive turn when I discovered ENOKU. In January 2023, I was offered a role as a Community Engagement Officer, which was a game-changer for me. At ENOKU, I not only found a job but also a sense of acceptance and happiness that had been missing in my previous workplaces.
ENOKU provided me with a platform where my strengths and abilities were recognized and utilized to their fullest potential. I could finally use my Bahasa Isyarat Malaysia (Malaysian Sign Language) skills effectively and connect with others who shared my language. The organization’s inclusive and supportive environment made me feel like an integral part of a team, breaking the barriers I had faced throughout my life.
In my role as a Community Engagement Officer at ENOKU, I’ve been able to make a significant impact. I’ve become a source of inspiration for others, showing that disabilities don’t define a person’s capabilities. I actively engage with the community and have played a crucial role in connecting PWDs with employers who value their unique skills and talents.
My journey from hardship to success is a beacon of hope for all. My story illustrates the transformative power of organizations like ENOKU, which strive to empower PWDs to overcome obstacles and contribute meaningfully to society. My life has been transformed, and I continue to inspire others with my resilience and determination. I am proof that with the right opportunities and support, individuals with disabilities can achieve greatness, and that their voices should never go unheard.
Community Engagement Officer