Charity begins at home

Guiding hand: Hong (standing right) and his staff members guiding the home’s residents in an art activity.

KLUANG: A charity home here has been hiring underprivileged individuals such as single mothers and people with disabilities to provide them with a source of income to feed their families.Currently, the Johor Handicapped and Disabled Association has 15 workers from low-income families looking after 46 residents with special needs at the home in Jalan Lintang.

According to its chairman Andy Hong, three among the staff are disabled people.

“One of them used to be a resident here after he got run over by a car about 12 years ago, leaving him with brain damage and broken limbs.

 “After recovering from the ordeal, he took it upon himself to help the home with chores and caring for other residents, so we decided to pay him a monthly salary for his work.

“Despite having special needs, the three individuals can perform tasks such as managing the home’s store room, keeping surfaces and shelves tidy and helping out in the kitchen,” he said in an interview.

Hong said other staff members were mostly single mothers who initially wanted to work in Singapore to support their families but could not do so even after the borders were reopened in April.

“They felt it was difficult to be far away from home as they also have children to look after.

“So we decided to give them job opportunities to earn an income,” said Hong, one of the organisation’s founders.

He added that it was not easy to hire workers willing to do the demanding tasks of tending to people with special needs for long hours in three shifts each day.

“Throughout our 14 years of establishment, there were instances where some of them left after spending just a few hours in the home and never came back.

“We hope to empower the underprivileged groups not only by taking them in as residents but by giving them an opportunity to serve society while gaining financial independence.

“But for now, we are not hiring any more staff or taking in more residents because our home, located in a single-storey bungalow, has reached its maximum capacity,” he said.

Hong said the organisation was now planning to raise funds to buy a suitable piece of land for a spacious welfare centre to help more people in need.

“We have been approaching both the state and federal governments for a piece of land for the past nine years, but our attempts have been unsuccessful thus far.

“We decided not to wait any longer and are working towards purchasing our own land as people are calling us almost every day, asking whether we can accommodate more people with disabilities,” he said.

Presently, the home is looking after multiracial residents, aged between nine and 85, who suffer from mental and physical challenges either from birth or accidents, Down syndrome, depression as well as visual and speech impairment.

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