St. Nicholas' Home, Penang

Our vision is of a nation that is free of barriers, where blind & visually impaired persons are not discriminated against; to have the same rights and responsibilities, share equal opportunities & the quality of life that is available to their sighted peers. Our mission is to provide education, training & employment opportunities in a caring environment, thus empowering blind & visually impaired persons to fully participate in society while helping to promote the prevention of blindness.
Nov 5, 2014

Outings with Ooi

Outing.  Classroom.  Waterfall.

These are some of Ooi’s favorite words, at least on this particular day.  “Teacher Kaila, waterfall!” he said over and over as he sat in the shallow end of the pool at a local park.  Ooi couldn’t see the fountain that was spraying water into the pool, but to him it sounded like a waterfall.

Here are some of the great things about Ooi:

  • He smiles all the time.
  • He remembers volunteers by name and knows their voices.
  • When we sing “You are my Sunshine” in class, Ooi always joins in.
  • Sometimes when I talk, he giggles like I’ve just said the funniest thing ever.
  • He is determined.  Learning new things can be a slow process for him, but he works diligently.
  • When we’re on an outing he talks about his classroom.  When we’re in the classroom, he talks about outings.
  • My name can be hard to pronounce, but from the beginning Ooi has always gotten it right.

This young man is a lot of fun. He always puts a smile on my face.  On a recent outing with the children from the Deaf-Blind Multi-Handicapped program, we all went to the park and spent a couple of hours playing in the pool.  I spent a lot of time sitting with Khaw Sheng while he enthusiastically splashed me and talked about waterfalls. 

Totally blind and diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy, 16-year-old Ooi is wheelchair-bound.  He can’t swim around the pool on his own, but that doesn’t stop him from enthusiastically enjoying life.  He loves field trips, and is always inviting volunteers and visitors to take him on an outing.

Through the DBMH program, Ooi is steadily improving his motor and communication skills.  He practices grasping small objects to strengthen his grip, and he is learning to be more conversant. Although Ooi is still growing in cognitive skills, he is friendly and interacts well with visitors.  He likes to talk and sing, and has a cheery demeanor. 

Thanks to the DBMH program, Ooi has been able to grow, learn, and flourish. He is determined to succeed, and his big smile and infectious laugh bring joy to those who work with him. A big thanks to all the generous donors and supporters who have made it possible for us to continue providing these services to the children! 

Nov 5, 2014

Little Hadi Boy

Since the day Hadi came into this world, he has not had it easy. He was born with dysmorphism, bilateral congenital microphthalmus, a small hole in the heart and with a left kidney failure. As an only child with both parents working, he is currently being looked after by his grandmother.

Hadi depends a lot on his family in the managing of his life as he still cannot do much due to his disabilities. He depends a lot on his grandmother in carrying out his daily living skills such as during bathing, toileting, eating and dressing.

Since being referred to our Early Intervention Programme, Hadi has shown much improvement. His parents and grandmother has noticed positive changes ever since we started providing training to little Hadi. He has started to learn how to make sounds to indicate his needs to his caretakers. Although he is still shy and interacts better with people who are familiar to him, he is beginning to open up and we are currently trying to focus on activities which involve other children to improve his social skills.

Initially, Hadi needed assistance to move around even in his own home but with constant guidance from our patient teachers, he is now able to walk independently! However, since he began learning to move independently, he moves around too freely and tends to explore on his own. Therefore, the teachers are now training him to listen and follow instructions.

Our plan for little Hadi is to continue training him particularly in the areas of social skills and daily living skills. We would love to see Hadi open up more to new people to enable him to make more friends. We are also focusing on teaching Hadi to communicate his needs more effectively.

We truly believe that with constant support and guidance, Hadi will grow up to be a remarkable boy and will be able to adapt to the society and community around him. We would like to thank each and every one of you for standing by us and for making it possible for us to help children like little Hadi! 

Aug 7, 2014

The boy of who catches hearts!

Terrence is a five-year-old boy who was born with Congenital Blindness and lives with his parents in Perak, North west Malaysia. During the day when both parents are at work, he spends time with the grandparents who have abundant love for their only grandson.

Terrence recognizes people by their voices and interacts with surroundings through touch, smell, and sound. He can speak three different Chinese languages and is able to communicate basics in Malay and English. However, from the beginning it was not this easy. Visual impairment comes with its own challenges; it takes ways of learning in which teachers and parents have to give so much of their support and the best reward is, of course, watching him grow to an independent capable child. Terrence’s friendliness catches hearts, he identifies people with the touch of their hands and asks, “Who is this?” if there is someone he is meeting for the first time.  He speaks gently with adults, especially elderly people.

Early Intervention Program is a program in which teachers are sent to the house of children in early ages to help them with their education and also to consult with parents and give them suggestions of how they can assist their children to learn specific skills that will benefit them in the future. In the beginning of this program, when the teachers met Terrence for the first time, they set up particular goals such as walking with the cane independently, holding it in the correct direction, and gaining the courage to go outside the house for outdoor activities and interact with people. He is now able to walk around by himself with minimum assistance and identify objects.  Another objective was to overcome the language barrier. In the beginning he could speak only Chinese and that made it hard to communicate with teachers or others outside the family. Through this programme, Terrence learned Malay and English word by word and now uses them regularly in conversations especially when the teachers ask him to.

Beauty exists where there is love.  It is in the words of the teacher who learned simple Chinese words to communicate with him, and the efforts of the parents who desire to see their son develop day by day. It was a journey, a very unique journey that only Terrence can feel and talk about perfectly. Maybe one day, when he grows to a young man, he can complete this writing knowing how precious he was, how everyone wanted him to be the best he could.

“20 years from now, Terrence might be a successful businessman, like his father, and I believe with his potential, he can do all that he wants.”

This was said by the teacher who travels 6 hours every two weeks to meet Terrence to give him new ways of learnings and record down the detailed improvements. For now the next steps are getting him prepared for school, starting to learn braille and be exposed to another world, a world of children where he gets opportunities to socialize with and experience new types of friendships.  

We are happy and proud of Terrence's good progress and with donations received through Global Giving; we can continue to help Terrence and other children in the programme towards improving their lives for a bigger and brighter future! Therefore, we would like to thank all our contributors form the bottom of our hearts for your support and donations.

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