Beacon of hope for special students

(From second left) Tengku Permaisuri Norashikin and Som during the prize-giving session at the dinner.

A CHARITY dinner held in Subang Jaya raised RM300,000 for Selangor and Federal Territory Association For The Mentally Handicapped (SAMH).

SAMH president Datin Som Roslan said the money would enable its centres to continue helping, educating and training children as well as adults with learning disabilities so that they could lead dignified and independent lives.

The association runs four programmes at two centres – in Jalan Sultan Abdul Samad, Brickfields in Kuala Lumpur and in Persiaran Tengku Ampuan Rahimah, Selangor -- that serve more than 250 children and adults with mental disabilities.

The centres provide early intervention, school programmes and vocational training as well as sheltered workshops. It requires an annual budget of RM2.5mil.

The Covid-19 pandemic pushed the organisation to seek financial aid, said Som.

“It has been extremely difficult for us to meet our operating expenses, so this charity dinner is part of our effort to raise funds,” she added.

The dinner, themed “Sinaran Harapan” (shining hope), was graced by Tengku Permaisuri Selangor Tengku Permaisuri Norashikin.

Apart from the dinner table sale, there were also auctions of SAMH students’ paintings to raise funds.

A few of the major contributors to the charity dinner were Allianz Malaysia Bhd, System Consultancy Services Sdn Bhd, Yayasan Telekom Malaysia, Bintang Gemilang Property Management, UMW Holdings Bhd and UMW Toyota Motor.

Sigma Water Engineering Sdn Bhd business development manager Siva Ramalu, who is a donor, said that even the smallest donation would help the students.

“I encourage everyone to step forward and donate to help the students prosper in this world,” said the 45-year-old.

Dinner guests enjoyed choir, dancing and singing performances by the students.

There was also a lucky draw offering the grand prize of a trip for two to Jordan.

The prize was sponsored by A&M Berkat Travel and Tours Sdn Bhd director Datuk Radzi Mansor.

Som said the students’ engagement, through their performances, had built their confidence as well as showcased their potential.

It let donors see who they were contributing to, she said.

“People can understand our students better and see what the funds raised can do for them.”

Som thanked all the donors at the charity dinner and hoped that the event had drawn the attention of future donors to contribute to the betterment of the students.

Contributions will aid the centres in paying utility bills and buying gardening necessities like pots, vegetable seeds and fertiliser.

The funds will also be used to upgrade the school hall by building a small stage with a public announcement system, renovate toilets and upgrade the school canteen.

Well-wishers can also sponsor a child at RM5,000 per year which will cover their education and personal hygiene needs.

SAMH is a non-profit voluntary organisation established in 1964 by a group of concerned parents and voluntary workers.

Those who wish to donate can write to or bank in to Selangor and Federal Territory Association For The Mentally Handicapped’s Hong Leong Bank Bhd account, number 292-00-00471-1.

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