Monday August 6, 2012
Life-skill centre for the disabled serves as a role model to others
Story and photos by FONG KEE SOON
THE Daybreak Centre for the disabled in Lahat, Ipoh, can serve as a role model in providing job opportunities for disabled adults.
Deputy Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Heng Seai Kie said the centre had done well as a non-profit organisation operating as a business entity under the social enterprise concept.
“The centre provides the disabled with varied and wide life-skill training, enabling them to gain employment opportunities with the society.
“They are taught contract assembly and packaging, socks manufacturing, general cleaning, handicraft production and how to manage nurseries for plants,” she said after touring the centre last week.
Heng added that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, who is also acting Women, Family and Community Development Minister, was supportive of the social enterprise concept.
“The government would like to see more charitable organisations adopt the social enterprise concept.
“The Daybreak Centre can assist the government in this area and will be submitting a proposal to us in due course,” she said, adding that 85 trainees from all races were being trained at the centre, presently.
At the same time, Heng expressed hope that more disabled people would register themselves with the government.
“At the moment, there are about 350,000 registered disabled people in the country but the numbers could actually be more. “Based on an estimate by the United Nations, about 10% of the population in every country lives with a disability.
“The government would be able to better allocate funds and resources to help the disabled if we know just how many disabled people there are,” she said.
She said last year, some RM175mil was paid to 53,036 disabled workers while RM38mil was paid to 25,385 non-working disabled people.
Heng later presented a wheelchair to the father of 24-year-old Denish Silva, who was among 10 disabled trainees from the centre involved in an accident, early last month.
The trainees were travelling in the centre’s van, which was heading towards Lahat, when it collided with two lorries at a traffic junction.
Denish injured his right leg, which had to be amputated from knee down as a result.