Helping the deaf become self-reliant

Joint effort: Leong (fifth from right in orange shirt), Yam (fourth from right) and Dr Lye (fourth from left) with some of the residents and club members in a group photo.

KUALA LUMPUR: With economic and social activities now in full swing, welfare and charitable homes can look forward to organising fund-raising activities once again to help them keep their operations alive.

When the Covid-19 pandemic first struck, many of these homes were hit hard as public donations dried up with regular donors not being able to contribute generously like before.

A non-profit entity, the Community Service Centre for the Deaf, was one such organisation – but things have been gradually looking up.

With the support of a non-government organisation, the centre is hoping for the public to come forward to help it realise its “Revitalisation Project”.

Set up in 1995 to provide education for the deaf community, the centre also started a social enterprise – Silent Teddies Bakery – offering these special residents vocational skills training.

Silent Teddies founder Cindy Leong said upon completing the skills course, these hearing-impaired graduates would then proceed to run a bakery to make a living.

“Every cloud has a silver lining. We are grateful for the generous public support all these years.

“Recently, Business Networking Club (BNC) was the latest NGO to lend a hand in raising funds for our project.

“We hope to be able to fulfil our aim of completing the final phase of the refurbishment of the centre and to build a bakery cafe to provide skills training and job opportunities for the hearing impaired in the food and beverage industry,” said Leong, who is also a sign language interpreter.

Over the years, she had come up with ways to help empower the deaf community through entrepreneurship and skills training so that they could be self-reliant.

At present, there are about 40,000 hearing impaired people registered with the authorities nationwide.

BNC corporate social responsibility (CSR) director Jonathan Yam said a fund-raising event called “Silently Loud Charity Award Dinner” would be held on Oct 26 at One World Hotel, Bandar Utama, with a target of raising RM250,000.

“With support from all parties, we hope to achieve this amount as one of our main CSR projects this year, which was put on hold over the last two years following the onset of the pandemic.

“Our main objective is to assist Silent Teddies to fulfil the social enterprise’s dream to rebuild its old building so that it can operate as a learning centre, bakery cafe, arts and event studio, including an edible garden,” he added.

BNC project organising chairman Datuk Dr WV Lye urged the public to come together in giving full support towards the worthy cause.

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