Bandar Sunway – The Jeffrey Cheah Foundation (JCF) has donated RM25,000 to Dignity & Services, a non-profit advocacy movement which speaks and acts on behalf of and alongside individuals with learning disabilities.
Mr Lee Weng Keng, Management Committee member of the Jeffrey Cheah Foundation presented the cheque to Mr Josh Green, a volunteer at Dignity and Services in the presence of the students and caretakers of the centre.
Dignity & Services works with teenagers and young adults, aged 17 years and above, with learning disabilities and equips them with the skills they need to lead an independent and meaningful life within the community. The independence they gain will help them plan for a future without their caretakers, and is done through Supported Living and Life Planning programmes, using the principles of self-advocacy. The organisation also works with family members through counseling and planning programmes to help them plan for the future of their son or daughter.
Dignity & Services also works to raise public awareness about learning disabilities, working closely with Government agencies, media and educational institutions. They consult various ministries on policy developments, and over the last 8 years have contributed a monthly column on disability issues titled “One Voice” in The Star newspaper. Quarterly newsletters are also distributed regularly to 3,500 individuals and organizations.
‘The donation made by the JCF will be used to help realise Dignity and Services’ goal to roll out the supported living program. The RM 25,000 will be put towards rolling out the first additional house. A number of sites have been identified and these funds will help with deposits and equipment. By rolling out in this way our centre will significantly increase the number of people they reach through our advocacy and supported living’,said Mr Green.
One of the students from the centre, Ho Wai Keen is a 22-year old Down Syndrome boy who is a House Leader of Dignity and Services, gave a short speech thanking JCF for the contribution. He said in his speech that he and his friends (fellow students) come to the centre every weekend to learn about basic living skills like preparing meals, making decision, solving problems, living independently and also to learn to keep themselves healthy. Ho added that he and his friends also go to work and they are very proud of it!
With a commitment to giving to society, the Foundation is dedicated to helping children with disabilities. Recognising that every individual deserves a chance to feel a sense of belonging and purpose in society, the Sunway Group runs a Job Placement Programme endorsed by the Ministry of Education, Malaysia, where special needs students from the Sunway-sponsored SMK Bandar Sunway are trained on basic work-related skills and ethics. Upon graduation, these students are presented with certificates of accomplishment to seek employment, where they are able to progress as independent members of Malaysia’s workforce. Todate, 75 students have graduated from this programme which commenced in 2006.
Those involved in the Job Placement Programme are students with Down Syndrome, Autism, Hyperactivity, William Syndrome, and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) or students who have learning disabilities from the Special School of SMK Bandar Sunway.
“The Foundation will continue to contribute and give to society through the pillar of education. Through our Job Placement Programme and donations such as that to Dignity & Services, which share our principles, we aim to equip individuals with learning disabilities with knowledge, emotional maturity, and physical skills needed to be more independent,” says Mr Lee Weng Keng.
Established in 1997 and previously known as the Sunway Education Trust, the Jeffrey Cheah Foundation seeks to provide sustainable, quality education to deserving students regardless of their background. In his personal capacity and through the Jeffrey Cheah Foundation, Tan Sri Dato’ Seri Dr. Jeffrey Cheah, AO has made generous donations to further education across the nation. Todate, RM80 Million scholarships have been disbursed through the Sunway Education institutions which the Foundation owns and governs, to more than 11,000 students, with more than RM13 Million donated by Tan Sri Dato Seri Jeffrey Cheah to schools.