Crossing the disability barrier

July 20, 2010 – 2:55 pm

Tuesday 01 Jun,2010

KUALA LUMPUR: Caring Malaysians showed that they had big hearts by taking part in the “Be An Angel Campaign 2010” at the Archdiocesan Pastoral Centre in Jalan Robertson, here, recently.

The volunteer training camp provided opportunities for participants to understand the plight of the disabled and be trained to help them.

The camp also helped people with disabilities (PWD) to learn how to communicate with able-bodied people.
On the final day of the three-day event, celebrities, members of the public and volunteers sang songs, participated in a sharing session and attended a prize-giving ceremony. Prizes were given to the best camper, best disabled camper and best team.

“The main objective of the camp is to break barriers between the disabled and society,” said pastor Sia Siew Chin, executive director of the Beautiful Gate Foundation for the Disabled.

“We do not have funds to employ enough full-time workers for all our homes.
“The camp was also held to recruit volunteers for our seven Beautiful Gate centres,” she said.

The Methodist Church set up the Beautiful Gate Foundation in 1993.

Fifty people, 24 PWD and 15 committee members took part in the camp.
Soo Wincci and Cindy Chen, winner and first runner-up of the Miss World Malaysia 2008/2009 respectively were among the participants.

Jeanie Lee, singer, William Lee and Eerven Teoh, co-hosts of the TV2 show What Say You? were also present.

Able-bodied participants were made to use wheelchairs, blindfolds and eat with their hands bound so that they could gained a better understanding of the trials and tribulations that the disabled go through daily.

“We need volunteers to give tuition to students at our centres on subjects like English and educate them to be tech-savvy by showing them how to use computers.

“Basically, we welcome any contribution from the public that is knowledge-based.

“We also need volunteers to help organise fund-raising dinners and other charity events.

“Volunteers are also needed in our recycling department, to help collect recyclable items such as bottles and tins which can be sold to generate extra income for our homes,” Sia said.

The campaign includes an “Angel At Work” segment” in which volunteers have to spend at least 30 hours helping out at Beautiful Gate homes or in fund-raising activities in six months.

She said the organisation was grateful to former Wanita MCA chief Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun who had been donating money to the campaign since it was launched by her in 2005.

“She donated RM5,000 for the campaign this year,” said Sia.

Chee Khiong, 25, who has cerebral palsy, was named the best camper in the person with disability (PWD) category.

Dionito C. Tararoc, who is deaf and mute, used sign language to say he had enjoyed playing the role of a villain who bullied the disabled in a sketch.

Tararoc was clearly delighted when he received a note that said: “Handsome boy, please keep on fighting!”

This was in a segment where participants wrote encouraging messages to another participants.

Those who wish to help can call 03-7873 6579 or 03-7875 8609, e-mail info@beautifulgate.org.my, or go to www.beautifulgate.org.my.

New straits times: http://www.nst.com.my/nst/articles/12nvc/Article

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