GEORGE TOWN: Swarn Singh was a young wireman when he fell 18m from the top floor of a factory. He suffered head injuries and later developed glaucoma.
“It was 1980 and back then, there was no safety measure. It was a miracle that I survived,” he said.
Swarn, now 62, said the glaucoma caused him to go blind.
“When I was in my late 30s, I could hardly see. Now, you can consider me a complete OKU (disable person).
“I tried doing some work after the incident but unfortunately, it was very tough with my condition,” he said.
He then started the Persatuan Tongkat Putih Pulau Pinang (Penang White Cane Association) in early 2014, of which he is now the president.
The non-governmental organisation, said Swarn, provides assistance to visually-challenged individuals of all ages such as counselling, practical help and support.
“If they need food, we provide them with what we have and give them some allowances,” he said.
Swarn also started a food bank project under the association in September 2014.
“We distribute dried food stuff such as rice, sugar and milk powder to the OKUs.
“We will be having our second food bank project on May 7.
“Walking sticks will also be given out to every blind person, at least two each year,” he said.
Swarn said the food contributions come from public donations.
He, however, lamented the lack of funds to maintain the association’s office and providing allowances and assistance to the needy disabled.
“There is simply not enough jobs for them. If the public lend their support, it will be easier for them to be independent,” he added.
The father of five said he considered himself fortunate to be able to help others in need through the association.
“We now have over 100 members in Penang and more than 40 in Kuala Lumpur,” said Swarn.
For more information, contact the association at 04-226 1699, 016-488 7811 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org