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Published: Wednesday December 11, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Updated: Wednesday December 11, 2013 MYT 10:54:06 AM

Cheshire Home faces bleak Xmas

KUALA LUMPUR: Residents of Selangor Cheshire Home are facing a bleak Christmas after the place was hit by a flash flood on Sept 13.

“Most of the items the residents had made for a Christmas sale was damaged,” said home president Datin Khatijah Sulieman. “There were 400 notebooks, dolls and stuffed animals that the residents had spent months making,” she said.

The fabrics, which were placed on the floor, were soiled and had to be thrown away, she said.

“Preparations for the items, which were part of the residents’ source of livelihood, started six months ago,” Khatijah said. “This is not going to be a good year.”

Khatijah said the flash flood damaged handicraft, furniture and administrative equipment, causing losses amounting to about RM100,000.

“It was 3pm then and most of the residents had just had their tea,” she recalled. “The water rose very quickly.”

Khatijah said fortunately no one was injured as the staff moved the residents – some wheelchair-bound and bedridden – to safety quickly.

The home has 37 residents aged between 25 and 70.

“Many of them have been living here for 50 years,” said Khatijah, adding that 85% of the funds for the home came from the public.

Cheshire Home Selangor council member Sonny Lim hoped that the public would continue to be supportive.

“It would be great if we can cover the losses, buy new furniture and paint the place a bit,” he said. “The residents have been asking when they can get new furniture again.”

The home is also in need of a refurbishment.

“We are hoping to get new beds. The residents have been using the same ones for 20 years,” said Lim. “We are looking at replacing the wooden bed frame with wheeled ones that would make it easy for the staff to move the residents during a crisis.

“We also need specialised hoists, which are used in hospitals to lift and transfer the disabled,” said Lim. “However, they are expensive.”

The flash flood has shaken up the residents until now.

“Every time it rains, we are worried that the same thing will happen again,” said Noredza Yaakub, a 52-year-old who has been staying there for 17 years.

Another resident Rukumani Govinder, 57, said it pained her to see that their hard work had gone to waste.

Amid the challenges, the home has successfully held an economic empowerment programme, which trains disabled youths aged between 18 and 26 in skills that will help them gain employment in the hospitality and retail sectors.

Started in 2007, over 130 youths have graduated from the programme, recording an employment rate of 80%.

Tags / Keywords: Family & Community, disabled, cheshire

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