35 Years 35 Stories
Chang Hoong is a trainee while Belinda is a volunteer at our Workbase (employment training centre for young adults with special needs).
When I first stepped into Malaysian Care’s work-based centre for young adults with special needs (as a volunteer), I thought it was just another sheltered workshop. I soon found out that it also provides training on living skills.
I was very sceptical about teaching the trainees cleaning duties. I found it cumbersome and didn’t think we were getting anywhere as each person with special needs has different abilities and some with physical limitations. To my surprise, Malaysian Care has a step-by-step guide and I saw the staff patiently guiding and training the trainees do their assigned duties step by step.
Slowly I learnt that with patience, love and care, the young adults can be empowered to do the chores. Some of them can do it even better than a normal person!
My son, Chang Hoong is one of the trainees. He has Down Syndrome. All along, my family had the perception that Chang Hoong had limited capabilities and not able to be independent. We always assisted him in managing his personal hygiene and personal belongings. It was Malaysian Care staff who gave me the courage to change. I learned to let go and let Chang Hoong be independent. I changed and he changed. It works!
Now, at home, my son would be happily sweeping the floor for me while I’m busy cooking. He also happily does all the other duties assigned to him and he is able to tell me that he has done his duties and he is proud of it.
I saw improvement not just in my son but the rest of the trainees. Even the most stubborn and difficult ones showed improvement. Through volunteering at Workbase, I have learnt various ways to deal with people with learning difficulty. I guess I could never gain this kind of experience anywhere else.
As a parent here, I have never felt neglected. The staff are always willing to help and share their experience. Whenever we parents have worries, there is always someone to talk to. Everyone at Malaysian Care office is joyful and caring.
I am touched by Malaysian Care and I want to do the same to help others in need.