Equip deafblind children with skills for life!

by St. Nicholas' Home, Penang
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Advertisement of  "Earth Hour" Charity Ride 2016
Advertisement of "Earth Hour" Charity Ride 2016

The blind and visually-impaired (BVI) community is more often than not pigeon-holed and hindered by invisible barriers when it comes to education, employment and life choices. These are typically the outcome of low expectations from people who have a poor understanding of the abilities of the blind. Ride for Sight was conceived to be an avenue for the BVI community to champion for their right to expect and are expected to achieve success. Our hope is that this event will promote the idea that we can and should expect our BVI friends to achieve their fullest potential in life.  .  

The previous five Ride for Sight events were very successful and attracted between 800-1200 participants each time the event was held. The feedback on the event was so encouraging among all the participants, sponsors and other stakeholder that we decided the event would be held annually. Another important benefit from Ride For Sight was that many volunteers signed up as pilots and marshals for our bi-monthly cycling outings as well.

When we started planning for RFS2016, we were very confident that despite the economic slowdown, we would be able to attract the numbers. We promoted this vigorously event to various cycling groups, corporate companies and as well as individuals as a whole in hopes to increase participation numbers.

In late January, we discovered that there is another cycling event to celebrate “Earth Hour Charity Ride” to be held on 19th March 2016, just one month earlier than our event. What is even more devastating for us is that the registration fee only 1/5 that of ours and the organizer of the “Earth Hour” ride named us as the sole beneficiary of the funds raised from the eventImagine our consternation when we were hit with this news! Whave been deep in the preparation of our very own ride scheduled for 10th April 2016 and this will definitely have a negative impact on our participant numbersSure enoughthere was a sharp decline in participation numbers for Ride For Sight 2016 with only 200 registered cyclist.

This experience taught us that we should never take things for granted and that we should check more carefully to avoid clashing with another event. More importantly, we realised that we could have achieve a win-win scenario by working hand in hand with other organisationsBy working together, not only we can pool our resources, we can also tap on the expanded network of both organisations. Nevertheless, we are grateful to receive funds as beneficiary from the Earth Hour Charity Ride.

So for 2017, we are joining hands with Queensbay Mall to organize “Earth Hour Ride For Sight 2017”. With our combined resources, we will certainly be looking forward to a fantastic event that will be even more impactful and rewarding for all stakeholders.

 

 

 

 

Advertisement of Ride For Sight 2016
Advertisement of Ride For Sight 2016
Daniel making raibow rice
Daniel making raibow rice

Thirteen-year-old Daniel has suffered from retinopathy of prematurity and total blindness since birth. Also, his left wrist is deformed and both thumbs don’t function at all. Having stayed in the Deaf-Blind and Multi-Handicapped Program (DBMH) for more than six years, Daniel has changed a lot. He was originally aggressive and easy to get angry; through the training at St. Nicholas Home, he would no longer attack others and even becomes the most independent student in class. He has learned to wash hands with soap after toilet and before eating, feed himself, wash his own plates, wear shoes and clothes, help teachers turn off lights and fans, close windows, pick up teaching materials and etc. The thumbs problem seems not an obstruction for Daniel.

 

Daniel is quite an active and brave boy who is filled with curiosity and not afraid of falling down on the ground when first coming to a new environment. With much energy all the time, Daniel always takes the lead of all classmates. While others are walking on the round track, Daniel has started to speed up and go jogging. While everyone is warming up and counting to 5, Daniel has counted to 10. As a fast leaner and doer, Daniel is always the first one arriving at the classroom, toilet, dormitory and dining hall.

 

In the aspects of communication ability and speech clarity, however, Daniel needs more training. Now when being asked questions, his expression is through being active as well as through sound, touch, or only a couple of words.

 

In 2016, we made an annual plan for Daniel, who is being trained to recognize braille alphabets K toT, verbalize in more than three words for his needs, walk using a cane, do household tasks and fold clothes.

Daniel having fun
Daniel having fun
Ah Sheng
Ah Sheng

Today I would like to introduce you to Sheng, unlike most of the other children in St.Nicholas Ah Sheng came to us at the age of 11. He is visually impaired and unable to walk on his own, before coming to St.Nicholas Sheng had 6 years of prior education at a specialized school and has developed basic social and communication skills but lacks cognitive, gross and fine motor skills. But this hasn’t stopped him from being joyful and outgoing, he not only greets his friends but also communicates with the teachers and staff. Due to his age Sheng had already developed the cognitive and language skills that most children at St.Nicholas are not equipped with. This helped the teachers as now they could focus their efforts on helping Sheng build on his motor skills, daily living and cognitive skills, but this wasn’t going to be easy as Sheng is a slow learner.

Over the past 6 months we are proud to announce that Sheng has seen considerable improvement, he can now move himself from the wheelchair to his bed or a chair and is also learning to walk using a frame. With the help of our teachers and trainers he has also been able to work on his fine motor skills and is able to grip objects firmly like toothbrushes or sticks and transfer objects from one container to the next. Skills like these have allowed Sheng to become more independent as he can now put on clothes, take a bath and brush his teeth with minimal supervision.

Seeing this progress we have identified some more complex goals, we believe that in the near future Sheng will be able to identify different textures and also be able to use social words appropriately by reading and judging the situation by himself. The amount of time, attention and quality of education we have been able to give to Sheng would not have been possible without the loving support we get from all of you.

To maximize your impact donate on June the 15th,Global Giving has $110,000 in availible matching funds. We will get a matching donation of 40% of our all donations that are made within 9:00:01 EDT and 23:59:59 EDT on June 15th.

Jim Watering his own Ocra Plant
Jim Watering his own Ocra Plant

Jim is the newest addition to our family here at St. Nicholas Home; he came here in 2015 at the tender age of 9. His transition to the Home wasn’t an easy one, Jim was born with Chronic Retinal Detachment and deafness. Before coming to St. Nicholas Jim was under the care of his family and lived at home, he was completely dependent on them for even the most basic of tasks and struggled coping with the change of environment at St. Nicholas as his exposure to the world had been limited to the confines of his own home.

Since Jim joined the St. Nicholas family he has seen tremendous growth in many aspects. When he first came to St. Nicholas his cognitive skills were fairly undeveloped, he was unable to stack blocks, pick out a specific object from an assortment of different objects or even feel simple objects and associate them with the correct shapes with his hands. But after just 8 months of consistent, patient and loving effort he is now able to do all these things and is even learning more complex cognitive functions like opening and closing containers and matching different shapes.

At St. Nicholas we understand the importance of Independence and begin teaching skills that will allow our children to be more independent adults. At the beginning Jim was completely dependent on his family for basic tasks like eating and brushing his teeth but in the short time he has been at St. Nicholas he has been able to use a fork and spoon to eat, brush his teeth and even put on clothes with minimal supervision. Jim has even been able to learn and understand some signs that have been taught to him, this further allows him to express himself and allows him to interact with the outside world. He is able to do things like sign “Good Morning” to his teachers and understand the sign for “Meal time”.

We hope that by the end of the year Jim will be able to improve his focus, do basic tasks on his own without any supervision at all and is able to communicate better  with the teachers at St. Nicholas to help us better understand his needs. Thank you for your undying support in helping us change these children’s lives for the better.

Learning how to make a sandwich
Learning how to make a sandwich
Jin learning about shapes
Jin learning about shapes

Meet Jin*. He’s a 4-year-old boy who is in St. Nicholas’ Home’s Early Intervention Program. JIn suffers from Oculocutaneous Albinism and has been diagnosed with Autism. He also has low vision rendering him almost completely dependent on others since birth.

Jin is an only child who is currently living with his mother and father. He can understand instructions given to him and he interacts well with his family, as well as, other children his age. Like most 4-year-old boys, he’s very adventurous. He likes to explore his surrounding area often.

After being introduced to St. Nicholas’ Home a little over a year ago, the greatest improvement we’ve seen in Jin has been in his communication. He’s learning how to communicate best through repetition. He is also learning how communicate in multiple languages. His parents were encouraged to continue to speak to him in multiple languages to help further his development in communication.

Our hope for Jin is to continue to help develop his communication skills, enhance his cognitive skills, and ultimately push him to live more independently. We are also very encouraged by his parents who have taken a step towards Jin’s development by sending him to Prospect Rainbow, which offers support to children with disabilities.

(*not his real name)

 

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Organization Information

St. Nicholas' Home, Penang

Location: Georgetown, Penang - Malaysia
Website: http:/​/​snh.org.my
Project Leader:
Daniel Aik Bin Soon
Mr
Bagan Jermal, Penang Malaysia

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