Timely lifeline for NGOs in rough waters


Special needs children from IMC Selangor during a football training session.

PETALING JAYA: The Covid-19 pandemic has left many non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in danger of buckling under due to the pressure of having to keep their operations going. Some even have to dip into their reserve funds.

Recognising the crucial role played by NGOs in serving the community, especially during rough times, Star Media Group through its charity arm Star Foundation has given RM100,000 to nine deserving charities nationwide.

Since its inception, Star Foundation has disbursed over RM20mil to more than 300 NGOs that are supporting social causes ranging from education to environment protection and social welfare.

Therapy for the troubled

Persatuan Kesihatan Jiwa Pulau Pinang vice-president Datuk Dr Lai Fong Hwa said the RM10,000 cash aid from Star Foundation would go a long way towards supporting its 2 Way Centre programmes helping children and adolescents with learning difficulties as well as people in emotional distress.

Running for almost two decades, the 2 Way Centre has assisted over 2,500 people with autism, attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and dyslexia.

At the centre, they are introduced to intervention activities to enhance their communication and interpersonal skills as well as manage their behavioural issues, all provided at no cost.

The beneficiaries also receive one-on-one education and counselling from certified in-house therapists.

“Star Foundation has delivered a lifeline as we faced a major financial deficit last year,” said Lai, who also conducts regular therapy sessions at the centre.

The organisation has seen an increasing demand for their emotional support services since the Covid-19 pandemic started. They work hand in hand with Penang Hospital and private hospitals in providing suicidal intervention.

A child matching letters with pictures at Persatuan Kesihatan Jiwa Pulau Pinang’s 2 Way Centre in Gelugor.A child matching letters with pictures at Persatuan Kesihatan Jiwa Pulau Pinang’s 2 Way Centre in Gelugor.

Upgrading facility

Another charity that received RM10,000 aid from the foundation is Lovely Nursing Centre which has 60 residents, mostly the elderly as well as the physically and mentally challenged.

Lovely Nursing Centre president Gopinath Rajamanikam said the refuge in Petaling Jaya had been running since 1999 and some amenities needed to be upgraded.

“These days, water leaks into commonly used areas every time it rains heavily and this has caused concern over the safety of our residents.

“We will use this cash aid to instal retractable awning on the side of the building to provide a safe walkway to the bathroom and kitchen during rainy days,” he said.

The home relies on public donations which have been dwindling in the last few years.

“We organised a fundraiser to cover expenses such as groceries, maintenance and refurbishment but response has been quite poor.

“We are extremely grateful that Star Foundation’s aid came just in time,” he said.

Lovely Nursing Centre residents having a meal together at the premises.Lovely Nursing Centre residents having a meal together at the premises.

Aiding the vulnerable

Staying true to its focus on empowering people, Star Foundation also gifted RM10,000 to United Voice (UV) to help individuals with various learning disabilities.

UV lead coordinator Yeong Moh Foong said the organisation was struggling to provide sufficient training and education to their target group.

“Under our social enterprise I’mPossible, the learning-disabled produce items to be sold for a profit but sales have been poor during the pandemic.”

I’mPossible seeks to help members who struggle to secure jobs. Through specially curated vocational training, the members produce items like pastries, paintings and merchandise prints.

“This aid from Star Foundation will encourage us to continue transforming the lives of our beneficiaries and getting them to play a dignified role in society,” said Yeong.

She said the sum received would help United Voice cover the vocational training costs and wages of the beneficiaries.

Since 2005, United Voice has been promoting self-advocacy for 130 mentally disabled members aged between 20 and 55, whose works have been sold locally and overseas.

United Voice members showcasing their products for sale.United Voice members showcasing their products for sale.

Support for special youths

Persatuan Jagaan dan Latihan Insan Istimewa IMC, better known as IMC Selangor, provides training and therapy for special children using sports as a medium.

IMC Selangor founder Raaginee Shalesh said the NGO was very thankful for the latest generous contribution of RM15,000.

“Before this, Star Foundation had sponsored a new vehicle for us,” she said.

Previously, IMC Selangor received a RM50,000 donation which was used to purchase a van for transporting the children to training venues and for use in emergencies.

Raaginee said the children, who either have autism, Down Syndrome or cerebral palsy, played outdoor games like football, bocce and badminton away from the premises.

She said a portion of the funds would be used to buy groceries for the almost 90 children in the NGO’s care.

Half of the children are housed at IMC Selangor’s daycare centre in Subang Jaya while the remaining are living full-time at its residential centre in Puchong.

IMC Selangor is looking for potential sustainable avenues to boost its income through its existing agricultural, handicraft and food preparation programmes.

Established in 2004, Star Foundation, which is the charitable arm of Star Media Group, aims to deliver meaningful initiatives with lasting outcomes to diverse groups of beneficiaries.

For more information on Star Foundation’s work, visit starfoundation.com.my

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