By Tan Ying Xuen
When you step into the domains of Rumah Kesayangan, teenagers with learning disabilities undergoing rigorous classes to train them in motor and communication skills can be sighted immediately. The students, determined, attempt to master the skills of colouring, craftwork, housework and reading.
For those who may not know, Rumah Kesayangan is a day care centre for early intervention programs and vocational training for the disabled people. Located in Bukit Mertajam, Penang, the centre is a caring home operated by the Grace Church. The day care centre aspires to educate autistic, hyperactive, inattentive, down syndrome and impulsive students.
Kanjmali Rajoo, is the leader of Rumah Kesayangan centre who has worked there for 28 years. Her long career at the centre affirms her love towards the job as well as the students.
Despite the difficulties, she takes it as a challenge because of her passion in providing the best to the incoming students. “I never think of giving up,” Rajoo added with a smile.
Being accepted by society
A research conducted by Scope shows that about half of the disabled people in the community are worried about making their employers aware of their impairment. More than one in four disabled people also believe they have missed employment opportunities because of their physical condition.
The centre, according to Rajoo, has been sending students to various jobs but the feedback they received was that the employers and co-workers found the disabled disgusting because they could be drooling due to their disabilities.
“To me, they are as normal as anyone else, but only physically and mentally different. The society must accept them,” Rajoo emphasised.
Regarding the enrollment process, Rajoo explained that all the potential candidates have to be interviewed by her to determine the child’s ability to look after oneself. This process will help to identify whether personal attention is needed for some children compared to others.
Every child is different
Every child is unique with special intellectual, emotional, and physical qualities. Learning progress is therefore different in every child. Unfortunately, certain parents are unable to accept or comprehend this fact, hence, complaining that their child is lagging behind compared to other children.
“The first thing the parents want is education for their children, but I beg to differ. If the child exhibits unwillingness in listening to us, it will be even more difficult to provide them the necessary education,” Rajoo adequately explained reasons for rebutting the parents’ wishes when they send their kids to the centre.
For Rajoo, listening comes first. “Listening is the absorption of words by the brain and leads to the understanding of facts and ideas. Before giving them any other education, I will teach them to first listen to instructions from the teachers,” Rajoo carefully described her priorities.
“The instructions are important. If they cannot take instructions, it will be difficult to teach them. They will do all the things that they want to do like running away, screaming and shouting. So the most important thing is listening to instructions,” Rajoo said.
If you are interested in providing financial help to Rumah Kesayangan, kindly ring 04-5393382.