GEORGE TOWN: Operators of two welfare homes in Penang are hoping that the upcoming Budget 2019 will provide more allocations and incentives for the betterment of the residents.
Tan Swee Ban, the 54-year-old founder of Peace and Harmony Home, a non-profit nursing home in Jalan Thomas, Bukit Dumbar, said one of the items on his Budget wishlist is to have better rehabilitation equipment for 35 senior citizens.
The equipment, he said, com-prises leg pedals for building up leg muscles, pulley systems for arms and stationary bicycles.
“We have looked at the complete set and it costs nearly RM30,000 for a set of eight machines.
“They’re good for physiotheraphy and are suitable for stroke patients.
“The product is from Japan and hopefully my home can be the first old folks’ home to have such equipment,” he said.
Tan said the operational expenses of the home costs around RM28,000 per month, out of which about RM4,000 goes to electricity and water bills.
“Since the setting up of this home, we have incurred about RM400,000 in expenses. We depend a lot on public donations and contributions from NGOs,” he said.
Tan also fears that the home may have to relocate someday as the place is under lease from the state government for about RM5,000 a month.
“Our three-year lease is almost up. If one day we’re no longer allowed to rent anymore, then what happens? I’m worried.
“Hopefully, we can buy up the place at an affordable rate,” he said, adding he has about 120 people on the home’s waiting list.
Social worker Chew S.T. said the home accepts those who are referred by the Penang Hospital, welfare departments or elected representatives.
A. Josephine, 45, the operator of Shammah Children Home in Bagan Ajam, Butterworth, which houses 22 children from broken homes and orphans, is also hoping for a place of their own.
She said she received an eviction notice from the houseowner in early October and a valuation letter for the house.
“The houseowner wants back the property and wants to sell it for RM750,000. We don’t have that kind of money. Even if we start to raise funds, we need more time. We only have until Dec 31 to move out,” she said.
Josephine said the children, aged between four and 20, have been with her since they were young.
“They call me Amma (mother) and I want the best for them, especially when it comes to education.
“The main thing is I want them to graduate. Even if our place is just a small kampung, the most important thing is for them to have access to education and to graduate with a degree,” she said.
Josephine said with her struggling to put the children in a permanent place, her budget wishlist is for land to build a permanent home.
“That way, we do not need to keep moving from one place to another. At least the children will always be guaranteed of a shelter, which will provide them the space to advance their education.
“I hope the government can support this and see it as a step to cut down on the number of neglected children in the country,” she said, adding the home is registered with the Registrar of Societies and the Welfare Department.
“Our short-term plan is to find another place to rent before the end of the year, but we need some allocation to start over.”
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