Despite not being able to walk after both his legs were paraylsed due to an accident five years ago, Mohamad Sufian Jasmi refuses to give up on himself, and continues to be independent and earn his own income, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The archery paralympic athlete from Johor is currently running a chocolate cookies business at his house in Taman Gembira, here.
Although he relies on a wheelchair to move around, the 22-year-old has never used it as an excuse to gain sympathy and ask for help.
Instead, he took up a suggestion by his mother and another acquaintance to join a month-long course organised by Yayasan Pembangunan Keluarga Darul Ta’zim (YPKDT) last year, and has never looked back since.
“I never thought I would be making cookies someday, but after I acquired the skills I feel it has great potential. Before this, I tried to sell used clothes (bundles) but never made any sales, however, I never gave up.
“Friends have encouraged me to venture into other businesses but I see the vast potential to generate income through selling cookies. My agent in Kulai usually takes four kilogrammes a week, it is enough to keep me going and all pumped up,” he told Bernama in an interview at his residence recently.
The athlete who had participated in the Perak Malaysia Games (Sukma) 2018 said that with a capital of RM50 and armed with baking skills, marketing strategies as well as a mixer and oven provided by YPKDT, he managed to earn a profit of around RM600 a month at the start of business.
He markets the product using his Instagram account ‘abg_wheelchair’ and is determined to continue to develop his business despite facing some challenges and constraints due to the COVID-19 pandemic and Movement Control Order (MCO) which has led to two of his distributors not being able to operate.
Apart from selling chocolate cookies, the second of seven siblings also takes orders for various types of burgers and ‘roti john’ from customers.
Assisted by his mother and younger sibling, he prepares between 30 to 50 burgers per day on weekdays.
Recalling the incident in March 2016 that almost took his life, Mohamad Sufian, who was confirmed paralysed after the accident said he felt embarrassed to face the world at first.
But it slowly went away after getting support from family and friends.
During the recuperation period, Mohamad Sufian befriended the archery team and became active in sports again in 2018.
Harbouring hopes of owning a cakes and cookies shop someday, he is determined to prove that persons with disabilities can become independent and achieve success with the support of the public.
“My advice is if you feel you are having a hard life, there are others who are experiencing worse than you. I may be paralysed but I can make cookies. If you are normal and healthy but still cannot find a decent job, there are many other things that you still can do. Being disabled should not be a hindrance to do something worthwhile,” he said.