Thurga being trained to wash her hands after meal
Thurga first came to St Nicholas’ Home in 2012. Coming from a family of four and as far as Johor Bahru, the most southern part of Malaysia, it has been a long journey of success for her here in St Nicholas’ Home Penang. Thurga was born with congenital blindness, mental retardation and autism. Before stepping foot to SNH, Thurga was pampered a lot at home. She was still wearing diapers as she did not have the proper toilet training. She was having difficulties doing daily activities on her own such as eating, dressing herself and wearing shoes. However, she was able to walk around without any help. When placed in an uncomfortable situation, she would make noises and throw tantrums.
All that changed when her parents decided to send her to St Nicholas’ Home, Penang. Within a year, she changed tremendously. More attention was given towards enhancing her skills in tactual sense, cognitive, living skills and motor skills and Thurga became better each day. Now, with the training received from the Deaf, Blind & Multi-Handicapped programme, Thurga is able to wear clothes and shoes on her own when she receives a verbal command. She is now able to move around from her dorm to her classroom and dining hall. Thurga also recognises her housemothers, teachers and friends’ voice when they talk to her. She has also become more energetic and lively as she demonstrates it through her new found love of music and dance. In class, she is able to do tactual puzzles and explore the different shapes and sizes of the tactual board. She is also able to recognise her both hands, other body parts and name them. She is now beginning to repeat words that she has learned from her teachers which indicate her learning progress.
The Deaf, Blind and Multi Handicapped Programme in St.Nicholas’ Home aims to provide a full range of educational service and training to achieve full potential and ability to be independent. The visually impaired children who are part of the programme are basically equipped with useful daily living, motor, mobility, communication and academic skills. They range from the age of 7 to 18 years old. Each child usually has an Individual Education Plan depending on their needs. Stimulation activities are carried out to achieve significant impact on the students’ learning experiences too. These children have benefited from the programme and are continuing to do so. Thurga is one of those visually impaired kids.
Being a Non-Governmental Organisation, St.Nicholas’ Home has been facing problems with sourcing funds for these kids and to ensure the continuity of the remarkable programme. The deficit in funds are one of the reasons why more and more improvements are not being executed successfully for the programme such as buying new puzzles or even to teach them Braille. This is where the home depends on the public for their generosity to equip these kids with skills for life.
The kids may be blind but are definitely St Nicholas’ Home’s shining stars and the same goes to Thurga. As her star continues to shine 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!
Thurga now holds the cup and drinks on her own
Thurga is already able to eat independently
Thurga learning in the DBMH Class