Welfare organisations hardest hit by pandemic


  • Metro News
  • Tuesday, 21 Apr 2020

Amitabha Malaysia needs to raise funds urgently to cover operating expenses at its dialysis centres, old folk’s homes and orphanage.

WITH the Covid-19 outbreak and movement control order (MCO) in the country, financial capability of the public and corporations has suffered much.

As the common folk and establishments do not have a steady revenue, they are unable to provide for the needy.

In a ripple effect, non-profit and charitable organisations are struggling to keep afloat without financial help. Some are fearing the worst, that they may have to close down.

StarMetro speaks to four entities to see how they are faring in the current situation.

Selangor Cheshire Home

Established in 1963, the home provides residential care for those who are permanently disabled and without means or resources.

Its president Datik Paduka Khatijah Sulieman said at present, people’s priorities are taking care of themselves and family.

“No one is making donations to us now with the economic crisis because of the outbreak.

Residents from Selangor Cheshire Home undergoing training to equip themselves for employment in hospitality industry.Residents from Selangor Cheshire Home undergoing training to equip themselves for employment in hospitality industry.

“We really need to think and strategise to sustain ourselves for the future, ” she said.

She said the cost to care for one resident a month is RM1,500, adding that there are six Cheshire Home branches in Malaysia.

“Each home is managed independently and we are blessed with dedicated staff, but they are getting older and so are the residents, ” she added.

The oldest resident at the home is 74 years old.

Another challenge, said Khatijah, was finding younger caregivers.

“This is not an easy job because the person needs to be skilled and have the passion to be a caregiver.

“I have been a volunteer for 40 years and the younger generation is not interested in doing this work, ” she said.

Under the MCO, the home is unable to hold any fundraising events, and with less funds they are struggling to pay their staff.

Khatijah says the management needs to strategise to sustain the home themselves for the future.Khatijah says the management needs to strategise to sustain the home themselves for the future.

“We have to find ways to raise money on our own, ” she added.

The home also provides an Economic Empowerment Programme (EEP) for the residents, mostly the elderly and people with disabilities, where they are given skills training and employment opportunities.

The five-month course prepares them for employment in the hospitality and service industry by learning how to manage laundry, housekeeping and food packaging, for example.

“Our residents are not academically inclined.

“For their training, we pay for everything... tuition fees, accommodation and transport as well as help to source lodging for them.

“Most of them cannot read and write, which is why the training programme is important for them to sustain themselves, ” she said.

Selangor Cheshire Home faces the challenge of finding young caregivers for its ageing residents, some of whom are disabled.Selangor Cheshire Home faces the challenge of finding young caregivers for its ageing residents, some of whom are disabled.

It costs RM60,000 a month to maintain each home, pay staff and run the EEP.

“Will I have to close the homes and cease the EEP? Should I cut down on staff?

“These are the questions playing in my head at the moment, ” she said.

“Despite the current challenges, we will continue to give our best, ” said Khatijah.

For details on the home, visit cheshireselangor.org or call 03-6138 7118.

The National Autism Society of Malaysia

Nasom, the familiar acronym it is known by, has to think of ways to keep its 16 centres nationwide running as parents of autistic children ask for a 50% reduction in fees.

Its chairman Feilina Feisol said this amounts to a RM21,000 loss for the organisation.

“We have to pay the salary of our more than 200 staff but we cannot hold any fundraising events for the next few months, ” she said.

All of Nasom’s corporate social responsibility-led events until June have been cancelled, with April being Autism Awareness Month.

Feilina hopes the government will include charitable non-governmental organisations such as Nasom to receive the Prihatin Economic Stimulus Package in the wake of the MCO.

Older autistic youths at Nasom are given vocational training.Older autistic youths at Nasom are given vocational training.

Most of the autistic community at Nasom comprise older youths between 20 and 40 years old, who have parents in their 60s and 70s.

The extension of the MCO poses a big challenge.

“Our centres are closed temporarily, so the parents cannot send their children to us, and this makes their adult autistic children restless and some of them become aggressive towards themselves.

“The children are so used to their routine at the centre and are unable to understand why they are cooped up at home, ” added Feilina.

Feilina says Nasom will suffer a loss of RM21,000 if fees are cut by 50%.Feilina says Nasom will suffer a loss of RM21,000 if fees are cut by 50%.

Nasom also has a vocational training centre in Jalan Ipoh where the children learn different things like baking and packing food.

“A big problem for parents with older autistic children is in knowing how to handle them.

“It is not easy nor cheap to have a therapist come over to the house, ” said Feilina.

For details on the organisation, go to nasom.org.my or call 03-7832 1928/5928.

Malaysian Association for the Blind

MAB, as it is called, is not a membership-based organisation.

It provides services and opportunities, including community-based rehabilitation, to the blind as well as to promote prevention of blindness.

There are about 48,800 visually impaired people in Malaysia registered with the Welfare Department.

Thomas is seeking a more concerted effort from the government to help the blind community.Thomas is seeking a more concerted effort from the government to help the blind community.

A majority of the community seek livelihood in the Klang Valley.

Several of them hold down informal or freelance jobs such as being masseurs and reflexology therapists.

Others are buskers and petty traders who do not contribute to the Social Security Organisation (Socso) or the Employees Provident Fund (EPF), which means they cannot draw from these funds to survive this period, according to MAB chief executive officer George Thomas.MAB, with help from corporations, foundations and service organisations are reaching out to over 1,000 blind people with provisions during the MCO, he added.

“We are helping the blind community in Brickfields (Kuala Lumpur) and other areas by supplying packed food, especially to the elderly and those living in single rooms without cooking facilities.

Reflexology is among the freelance jobs that the visually impaired do. — FilepicsReflexology is among the freelance jobs that the visually impaired do. — Filepics

“They need further assistance to pay rental, utility bills and feed their families during and after the MCO, ” noted Thomas.

He said MAB is seeking a more concerted effort from the government to help the blind community.

“MAB is an NGO and also impacted by the MCO. We have limited resources to help the visually impaired community in the country, especially the rural areas, ” he added.

To learn more about MAB, visit mab.org.my or call 03-2272 2677

Amitabha Malaysia

This charitable organisation is in urgent need of funds to sustain its dialysis centre, an orphanage and two old folk’s homes.

Its Kuala Lumpur branch manager Yap Xiao Ping said since the MCO started, all food and monetary donations have stopped.

“Kidney patients cannot live without dialysis treatment.

“And our dialysis centre is facing critical shortage of mask and financial support. We need people’s kind contribution to help us tide over this difficult period, ” she said in a statement.

The organisation’s old folk’s homes in Kuala Lumpur and Kulai (Johor) are providing shelter to 71 senior citizens, the majority of whom are bedridden or have mobility issue. Seven caregivers and three management personnel service the two homes.

“Monthly expenses for each home and orphanage is around RM30,000 while the dialysis centres cost about RM100,000 to run.

The operating expenses include caregivers’ remuneration, meals, medical supplies, caregiving consumables, utilities, transportation, repair and maintenance.

Amitabha Malaysia also provides monthly necessities to 263 underprivileged families.

During the MCO, Amitabha Malaysia volunteers carry the MCO exemption pass in order to deliver necessities to the poor.

For details, call Yap (010-214 4986) or Christine Khaw (019-333 9707), or email to adminkl@amitabhamalaysia.org

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Nasom , MAB , Cheshire Home , NGOs , MCO , Covid-19 , funds

   

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