The man who only wished to be known as Fong, 60, previously worked as a supervisor in Singapore before developing problems with his eyesight.
From the depths of despair, he found a way to once again make a living thanks to the Johor Area Rehabilitation Organisation (Jaro).
“I have been with Jaro for 16 years, and they trained me to create handicrafts such as rattan baskets. The environment is stress-free and comfortable, for which I am very grateful,” he said when interviewed at a Chinese New Year lunch for the disabled under Jaro, which was sponsored by and held at New York Hotel here.
Jamilah Sulaiman, 46, who has been with the organisation for three years now, heard about Jaro during her school days but never thought she would one day be part of it.
“I injured my hip after giving birth to my first child, and I cannot walk or stand for extended periods, which makes finding conventional work difficult,” she said, adding that she enjoyed sewing bags and making stuffed animals at the organisation.
V. Kaysarvan, 72, is grateful that an organisation like Jaro exists, as it has enabled him to continue earning a living and support himself for the past 28 years.
“I used to work in a factory but I suffered spinal damage. With my bent posture, it was difficult for me to work outside the home,” he said, adding that he currently did bookbinding under Jaro.
These are among some 60 disabled individuals who are attached to Jaro, an organisation that provides training and work related to custom-made handicrafts and binding services in Johor.
Jaro chairman Datuk Jimmy Low said the event was important to show appreciation for those with disabilities and allow them to feel a part of society.
“It is crucial to be able to give them a sense of dignity and to also give them equal opportunity to provide for themselves,
“At Jaro we give them training and employment so they can earn a stable income, as well as Social Security Organisation (Socso) and Employees Provident Fund (EPF) benefits,” he said.
The event saw the attendance of numerous local Chinese associations leaders, who gave ang pow to the disabled.
Jaro was established in 1952 with the objective of helping rehabilitate those with disabilities by giving them training and assisting them to get employment.