Helping the disabled

GIVING people with learning disabilities a chance to lead normal lives and to fend for themselves is what United Voice (UV) is all about.

It is the first society led by persons with Learning Disabilities that is recognised by the Registrar of Societies.

A helping hand: United Voice also advocates for its members togive back to society by helping other less fortunate cchildren.

While most such organisations are led by able people, UV is proudly helmed by 28-year-old Johari Jamali and Teoh Hooi Ting, who have overcome their learning disabilities and are now in the workforce.

“We currently have 103 members and more than 20 of them are in the workforce. We teach our members to speak up and to find employment opportunities for them,” Johari explained.

Self-advocacy is the main agenda here as UV pushes for all the members to learn to speak for themselves and to get involved in the decision-making process.

“Having committee members elected by general members means that persons with learning disabilities are given a chance to lead and being given this opportunity helps us grow,” Teoh said.

UV has been working very closely with many large private companies including GCH Sdn Bhd that has provided many employment opportunities for persons with learning disabilities.

“We help train them and make them more confident about themselves and teach them skills to make them more employable,” Teoh said.

UV also has an employment project where members are engaged to produce simple handmade products to be sold. These products include mochi, konyaku jelly, greeting cards, saori scarves, saori dolls, coasters and key chains.

Some of these products are produced specifically for certain corporate partners that requested for hand-made products as corporate souvenirs.

But what UV is looking into right now is a permanent home as they have been shifting around for the past 14 years.

“We are looking to raise RM1,000,000 to buy a double storey shop lot to be used as our permanent base. The building is estimated to cost RM850,000 and fixtures and fittings will cost us another RM150,000,” said support staff Yeo Swee Lan.

UV has raised RM250,000 so far through various activities and they will hold a fundraising dinner on Aug 17 at Bukit Jalil Golf and Country Resort.

“We welcome all forms of donations. They will be tax-exempted,” Yeo said.

For more information or to donate, call 03-7958 8069 or visit