THE afternoon sun sent shafts of light dancing inside the 117-year-old Asrama Cahaya building, much like how the nimble fingers of the senior ladies there went about doing their stitching work.
Working on vintage machines in the midst of antique furniture, the ladies were engrossed in their craft that would help raise some funds for the home.
The chatter typical of such a scene was absent as some of them were born deaf while a few were slow learners.
Asrama Cahaya Home for Disabled Women is housed in this 117-year-old building in Bukit Nanas.
Time seemed to have stood still at this home for women with different disabilities founded in 1973, even though it was located right smack in the busy Bukit Nanas area in Kuala Lumpur.
The amazing thing about this surreal sight was that the women aged between 57 and 92 have been under the care of the home since their childhood.
The residents’ disabilities fall under four categoeries – physically challenged, mentally challenged, visually impaired and hearing impaired.
“The home took them in when they were children, and will continue to take care of them until their last breath,” said Sister Rosalind Tan, who is in-charge of the home.
Having helped others for decades, the home now needs help from the public.
Tan first joined the home as a volunteer
The residents and caregivers always look forward to having volunteers around to offer care and interact with the residents.
In the past, the residents had the chance to enjoy more activities, especially excursions, thanks to the support of many volunteers.
These days, only a few groups come by, mainly handling meals and guiding exercises.
Sister Tan said the home needed volunteers for physiotherapy, handicraft making, cooking, administrative work that would include accounts management, as well as praying, talking, singing and interacting with residents.
Sister Tan could relate to the satisfaction being a volunteer as she started off as one with the home.
“I was bowled over by the dedication and commitment of the nuns. It inspired me to offer love and care to the residents,” she said with a smile.
The home is in urgent need of four caregivers and a home manager.
Wong says they need a home manager who is loving
The home provides empowerment programme for the caregivers through sharing and reflection sessions.
They also offer tuition to help caregivers resit the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia examination.
Sister Celina Wong said the turnover of the caregivers team was high as the home would not stand in the way of those who wish to move on with their own lives after the training.
“As for home manager, our only requirement is for the person to be a loving person. Love is all this home needs,” she added.
Asrama Cahaya was merged with Asrama Bintang in Ipoh in 2016. It is no longer accepting new residents because the existing workforce is unable to cope and residents are already comfortable with each other whom they see as family.
The home’s monthly expenditure is usually between RM30,000 and RM32,000, most of which goes towards the salary of the workers.
It receives a small grant from the Welfare Department and mostly rely on donations in cash and kind from individuals and organisations.
For details, call 03-2078 0736.