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Educating young blind children for a better future

by St. Nicholas' Home, Penang
Educating young blind children for a better future
Educating young blind children for a better future
Educating young blind children for a better future
Educating young blind children for a better future
Educating young blind children for a better future
Educating young blind children for a better future
Educating young blind children for a better future
Educating young blind children for a better future
Educating young blind children for a better future
Educating young blind children for a better future
Educating young blind children for a better future
Educating young blind children for a better future
Educating young blind children for a better future
Educating young blind children for a better future
Educating young blind children for a better future
Educating young blind children for a better future
Educating young blind children for a better future
Educating young blind children for a better future

Positive Change of A Shy Boy

By Syafawati

 

“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched - they must be felt with the heart” – Hellen Keller.

Have you ever imagine life without knowing how your parents’ face looks like? Raju was a premature baby born at 26 weeks of pregnancy due to leaking of amniotic fluid. He has been incubated for 100 days and he was diagnosed as retinopathy of prematurity with stage II-III. At the age of 5 months, he went for an operation which he has to remove his left retina. Raju is very close with his foremost love, his mother. He is very motivated and will never let his mother feel down.

Raju was enrolled in our Early Intervention Programme at age of 5. Raju’s condition was never an issue for his family who always love and take care of him; including his extended family members. They lived happily in their small paradise home which was aided by the government under the Poor People Housing Program. Raju’s mother is a fulltime housewife and the one who is responsible for taking care of Raju and 3 other siblings wellbeing. His father works as a security guard.

In spite of being born with no vision, Raju was able to move independently at the young age and is also able to interact well with his family members. Nevertheless, he was still very dependent on his family especially his mother for his daily routines and was very shy with strangers. His speech was also not coherent. Raju has difficulty understanding other languages except his mother tongue. Besides that, Raju has difficulty in differentiating shapes and counting. So his teachers have planned an Individual Educational Plan for him to improve his learning ability.

Despite of having learning difficulties, Raju never once gave up. His parents never stop him from exploring new things. They did their best to provide and fulfil Raju’s needs. Raju’s parents and teachers are always working together tirelessly to transform his life meaningfully. One of the significant improvements seemed recently was when Raju greeted and helped the teachers to carry the boxes into his house. His recent attitude was the direct opposite of what his teachers first met Raju where he hid behind his mother the entire time. Raju is able to sort the shapes and distinguish surfaces now!

 

Raju shows the world that his blindness is not a hindrance for him. Just like the quote by Hellen Keller which goes something like “A happy life consists not in the absence, but in the mastery of hardships.”

 Your strong support could make a big difference for Raju as the donations is used for buying new learning aid that would expand his learning experience.

 

Raju is sorting various shapes.

One of Raju’s Individual Education Plan goals is to be able to eat independently. So, the teachers taught him how to scoop his food correctly.

Raju is doing hand coordination activity. In this activity, Raju learned how to coordinate his 2 hands, counting the wooden poles and braille numbers.

Raju with his older sister, Bhavithra, 8 enjoying great moments together.


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Identifying Colours
Identifying Colours

A little cute girl named Maria was enrolled to Early Intervention Programme (EIP) when she was only 1 year old. Maria is a cheerful and an active girl who likes to explore new thing was referred by Hospital Kulim after she was diagnosed with cataract. After undergoing few investigations, doctor then diagnosed her as Bilateral Corneal Opacity. Corneal opacity is a cornea disorder which occurs when the cornea becomes scarred. This stops light from passing through the eye and may cause the eye to appear white or clouded over. She is considered as a low vision since she has some light perception.

Maria lives in rural area with her parents and 6 siblings. She is the youngest in the family. Her father is a factory worker while her mother is a full-time housewife. Previously, she cannot recognise or differentiate colours. She was very dependent on the family especially with her mother. She also feels insecure and is afraid to walk independently even though she does not have any other physical problems.

After months of visiting, Maria started to show improvement since the first met. She is able to differentiate colours as she was trained to sorting the coloured cubes and at the same time is able to recognise colours. Besides that, her fine motor strength has improved especially in grasping object. Now she can happily carry snacks and sweets that she bought from the grocery shop with teachers as part of the lesson. This also improves her social skill which she can socialise with adults and strangers.

Maria has also improved in daily activities such as throwing rubbish into the bin. She can drink and eat independently. Teachers encourage the parents to continue these habits at home. However, the most significant improvement is that she is able to walk steadily and independently. The parents are very happy and thankful with Maria’s improvement since she enrolled to this programme. The parents also said that this programme is beneficial to Maria’s development.

Beads and string
Beads and string
She loves cat
She loves cat
Gym ball is one of Maria's favourite toy.
Gym ball is one of Maria's favourite toy.
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Rith playing with his teacher
Rith playing with his teacher

Rith was only 4 years old when he got referred to Early Intervention Programme at St. Nicholas’ home. He was diagnosed with multiplanar nystagmus with bilateral optic nerve atrophy when he was only 2 years old. Despite being low vision, he was an active child who loves running around the house and jump on his parents. He was able to understand simple sentences and respond with one word answers. He was such a jolly kid, playing with his brother even though he was a bit apprehensive towards his teachers at the beginning.

After months of visiting Rith in Perak, he started to warm up and play with his teachers. He began actively engaging in all the activities and play therapy prepared for him. We started to see progress in his cognitive thinking and fine motor skills. His vocabulary also improved and he was able to answer questions addressed to him in short sentences.

His parents were very happy that Rith has improved so much and is very thankful that he was growing up at a normal pace like his siblings. However, in March last year, we started noticing that he has been talking and interacting less with everyone, including his parents.

We urged the parents to get him to the hospital for a thorough check up. He was attending speech therapy when he is not responding to the environment around him. A subsequent visit to the hospital found that he has hearing impairment.

His mother is very concern with the pace of Rith’s development which has been slowing down since he was diagnosed with hearing loss in 2018. At the beginning of 2019, he was given a hearing aid which will be beneficial in improving his learning ability as we prepare him for formal schooling. As teachers, we have had to change that our teaching approach for Rith as appropriate to his current condition. The parent also have enrolled him into community based rehabilitation center in the hope he will socialize more with children his age and encouraged to learn.

Rith fixing the puzzles
Rith fixing the puzzles
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Hammad participating in group play
Hammad participating in group play

Hammad was only 2 years old when he enrolled into the Early Intervention Programme (EIP). He was diagnosed with two different diagnoses for both his eyes. Hammad’s right eye is diagnosed with micro cornea whereas his left eye was diagnosed as Anapthalmous which is the absence of the eye itself, as a result of a congenital malformation.

Hammad’s condition was never an issue for his family who love and took care of him.  They live in a closed knitted community in the village where his aunts and uncles take turns to care for Hammad when his parents go out to work at the rubber estate.

In spite of being born with no vision, Hammad was able to move independently at the age of 2 and is also able to interact well with his family members. Be that as it may, he was still very dependent on his family especially his mother for his daily routine and was very afraid of strangers. His speech was also not coherent.

These were all in the past. Hammad is now an active child who loves to play and he can even boss his younger cousins around sometimes.  He enjoys moving about the house on his own. His aunt mentioned that sometimes she just needs to keep an eye on him as he is able to take bath and play by himself.

One of the significant improvements seen recently was when Hammad cheerfully greeted and helped the teachers to carry toy boxes into his house. His attitude is the polar opposite of when we first met when he hid behind his mother the entire time. The parents are very happy and thrilled that Hammad is able to do these things independently as he is going to attend regular school soon.

Working with Hammad these past years has been an inspiration as he has shown us that being born without vision is never a limitation. Just like the quote by John Milton which goes something like “To be blind is not miserable; not to be able to bear blindness, that is miserable.”

Hammad amused with the sound from the squeaky ball
Hammad amused with the sound from the squeaky ball
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Han enjoys the learning session.
Han enjoys the learning session.

Han was enrolled into Early Intervention Programme (EIP) at the age of four years old. He was born with advanced retinopathy of prematurity. He is the heart of his household with his gleeful laughter. Nothing stops him from enjoying his life as any other kids. He even enjoys playing with his baby sister who was only one years old.

However, the first visit to his house revealed that he has not been able to walk independently and depends on assistance from his family members. His difficulty stemmed from tightness of his leg muscles and impaired his balance as he has not been trained to walk properly.

Fortunately, after six months of training, Han’s grandmother witnesses with tears as she witness her grandson took a few steps on his own for the first time. Han was able to go to school and have showed tremendous improvement. His grandmother is very grateful to St. Nicholas’ Home.

Our hope for Han is to further enhance his cognitive skills and ultimately train him to live as an independent individual. With the strong support from his family members who have taken initiative to help and support Han’s journey, his teachers believe that Han will be able to make great progress toward integration in school.

The kindness of the sponsors and donors will go a long way in ensuring the sustainability of our Early Intervention Programme and help our teachers to reach out to more children like Han and bring light into their lives.

Han loves to play with his baby sister.
Han loves to play with his baby sister.
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Organization Information

St. Nicholas' Home, Penang

Location: Georgetown, Penang - Malaysia
Website:
Project Leader:
Daniel Aik Bin Soon
Mr
Bagan Jermal, Penang Malaysia
$69,579 raised of $90,000 goal
 
422 donations
$20,421 to go
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