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

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.

Aug 7, 2014

Children of St Nicholas' Home

Thurga first joined this residential programme in March 2012 at the age of 12. At present she is 14 years old and continuing with the Deaf Blind and Multi Handicapped programme. Thurga was diagnosed with congenital blindness, mental retardation and Autism. Though Thurga can hear and understand simple commands, she is not able to talk and communicates only through gestures. Thurga’s main challenges are her aggressiveness and her tendency to throw tantrums. She has mood swings whenever she is uncomfortable.  Thurga did not had any proper training in any skills all this while as she was left alone by herself and thus has developed improper behaviour.

 It has been two years now since Thurga enrolled in the Deaf Blind and Multi Handicapped programme. In these 2 years, Thurga has been referred for regular medical intervention at a nearby hospital. She continues her follow up schedule with the Psychiatrist, Paediatrics, Neuro and Endocrine specialist and she has shown some overall improvement in her behaviour modification. Her frequent tantrums and aggressiveness has lessened and it has also improved her sleeping pattern at night.

Thurga is able to recognise people with their voices and touch. She is able to under simple commands in English and Tamil and able to respond to our commands though slow at times. Thuga likes to be praised and handled with gentle care and does not like loud voices or sounds. She also likes to be cuddled and hugged by familiar people.

Even though Thurga is able to understand the commands from her teachers, she can only communicate through gestures to indicate whenever she is hungry or feeling uncomfortable. She has different sounds and gestures to indicate her happiness or when she is in pain. She has now learnt to indicate through gestures for her toileting, hunger and pain.

Thurga has also shown some improvement in her walking pattern after continuous walking exercise and Physiotherapy sessions. Her ability to walk to her classrooms on her own is an indication of her improvement from when she first came to St Nicholas’ Home. Though she still has balancing problem, she is able to control herself. As such, she tends to walk with her head down and our Physiotherapist is currently working to teach her neck control.

Thurga is still dependent on her caregivers for her daily needs.  She needs constant verbal instructions to do a task and most of the time she needs hand over hand techniques. She has learned to wear her shoes, cloths and feed herself with very minimum assistance from teachers and caregivers. Other skills such as Toileting, bathing and brushing teeth still need training.

For the past two years, with constant attention and teaching from her teachers, Thurga has shown to us that with proper guidance, it is possible for children such as Thurga to achieve their full potential and gain the ability to be as independent as they can be.

As we continue to help children such as Thurga through the Deaf Blind and Multi Handicapped progamme at St Nicholas’ Home, we would like thank you for your generous contribution to our DBMH programme and for making a change in the lives of these children!

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