So yesterday, my school (SuwayTES) organized a CSR event. It's a chance for the students to engage with the needy people. Initially I was contemplating whether to join or not as I have a class on that day itself. Luckily my lecturer promised that she'll find a replacement class for us lot, so...okay!
Upon arrival at the hall, we registered ourselves, got to know our bus number and team number (code named as HOME). Luckily enough, I was teamed together with Nala! (Sorry Chermaine QAQ). Each HOME was assigned to different tasks, I heard one of it was to organize books at a local library. Sounds interesting enough! I love the smell of books, however, my group was assigned to visit a Rumah Cacat Akal (Mentally Disabled Home). Although feeling a bit disappointed, but I look forward to it as it was my first time visiting a home such as this. Previously I only visited Old Folks' Home back in Melaka.
They provided breakfast for us. And it was a whopping huge pack of Nasi Lemak. It also had sotong cili as a side dish, talk about a heavy breakfast indeed. But it was fulfilling XD Not only that, they also gave us a mask, and also one glove (note : not gloves, but glove).
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We took a seat, and started to have our breakfast. Slowly the hall was filled with people wearing the same T-shirts as us. (I have no idea what are those boxes were on stage though, heard it was for a Talent Night event or something)
Nearing 9am, a short speech by Ms. Margaret (lady on the right) and we took a group picture.
Me and sexy lady, Nala.
After we took a group photo and attendance taken, we separated into our groups respectively and head off to the foyer area to catch our bus.
Our fun and lively group, HOME 10, lead by lecturer Ms. Geetha!
On the way to our destination. We thought it was a fairly nearby place, turns out we landed at Klang!
A photo before we got off the bus.
Once we arrived at our destination, we were greeted by the lady in charge of the house, and was given a tour around.
She explained about the history of this Rumah Cacat Akal, apparently it was first established in 1993, and it was at a different home! They only moved to this current house a few years ago. The old house was too worn out and had leaks on the roof, so they had no choice but to move out. The current house was built with the help of the local community, the tiles on the floor were actually rejected tiles by the manufacturers, all of the furniture are donated to them, all of it old and unwanted by their previous owner.
This Rumah Cacat Akal houses females (females only!) who are mentally disordered i.e Down Syndrome. And the ages of the residents range from as young as 6 years old, to 60 years old. Even though we refer them as 'children', they may as well be my aunt, but unfortunately as they are mentally disabled, they have the mentality of a child and unable to take care of themselves.
That's the lady who welcomed us :) the picture below the van is the old house. Now torn down already though. We visited the kitchen, the workshop and the upstairs of the house.
This is one of the rooms for the children. I can't help but to notice that their mattresses are actually uncomfortable to sleep on. It's all 'sunked' and quite uncomfortable for the back definitely.
After the tour, the lady gave us a chance to interact with the children. The children at that time were doing sheltered work. Sheltered work refers to small odd jobs for the children to work on to keep them occupied, and also to earn a little money for the Home. When we entered the workshop, we noticed them wearing white hats, indicating that they're the residents of the home. The children were slotting in straws into little plastic bags.
Me and several group members, approached these two girls, Miki (on the left) and Pei Ling (on the right)
Miki has down syndrome, whereas Pei Ling has slight mental disorder. It was awkward for us at first, as we do not know how to approach these girls. I attempted to converse by asking them for their names, and their age. Miki is 17 years old, whereas Pei Ling is only 14. Then proceeded to ask them how to do their work (slotting in straws into plastic bags). I couldn't help but to notice their innocent smiles. Miki was especially hyped up, she showed us how to do it by taking up five straws and shouted "One, Two, Three, Four, Five!" while pointing at it, and then slotting it into the bags. Then after she repeated the process several times in Malay, and also in Chinese!
Pei Ling on the other hand is a more composed and patient girl. I was quite surprised when she told me she can speak Malay, Chinese, English, AND Hokkien! So I started off a little conversation with her using Hokkien haha.
Throughout the interacting session, Miki kept teasing Pei Ling by pulling her hat and slightly pushing her. But Pei Ling would just laugh it off while saying "Oh my goodness! *facepalm*". They're such an adorable combination!!! After about 30 minutes, I could tell that the both of them started to open up to us as they took the initiative to talk to me, I was quite ecstatic XD It was very funny when Miki thought I'm 13 years old LOL! (Girl, I'm actually 20, I'm an old auntie, but awww, thank you!!)
I can't help but to notice that, despite the fact that they are mentally disabled, they are..VERY ABLED! Miki and Pei Ling were both very OCD. Miki was taking the maggi cups from the table behind, and she took her time choosing the cups, that made me wondered and observed her closely. Apparently, she chose the cups with the same labels. She pushed away those that are of different labels!! Hers was the maggi chicken (green coloured) label, and ignored those kari ayam cups (red coloured). Woah, that is very OCD indeed. Pei Ling on the other hand, was very particular about the plastic bags and the height of the straws. Whenever there's any faults (and I mean, ANY little small faults) about the plastic bags, she'd put them aside. And she make sure that the straws she's about to slot in are of equal height. Gosh, I admire them for that, really!
When 12.30pm stroke, it was lunch time! We head out of the workshop and had lunch. Well before lunch, I just had to pet the dogs a little.
And this is Ginger, a miniature poodle! She loves belly rubs. Once you rub her belly, she'd automatically lie down and her hind legs starts to twitch. So cute!!
After lunch, the residents sang songs for us. Lots of Chinese songs! (luckily I know them haha, did a sing-a-long)
We clapped and sang together with them :)
Thanks Nala for the photo!
After that I volunteered to play the old, and worn out piano. I have no idea why I suddenly asked permission to play the piano during the workshop earlier that day lol. I sort-of regretted as I played quite badly, no chords or anything in my mind, just blank. And obviously, mistakes, loads of it. I am so sorry QAQ But nevertheless the children still sang, despite the horrible sounds from me ;w;
After that, we played mini games. First up is London Bridge is Falling Down!
Aww, Jaya got caught!
After a few rounds of it, we moved on to Passing the Ball. The person chosen will have to either dance or to sing.
And Jaya was the first one again lol! We had one person from our group to accompany them dance.
I sense love in the air~
*Twirls and twirls*
Oh you Miki!! XD
This resident chose to sing instead! She sang Tien Mi Mi. I recorded a video of it too XD
Pei Ling!! You go girl!
When this lady got chosen, she wanted to sing too, so she asked a few other residents to sing and dance together with her.
And Miki again LOL! Oh you Miki XD
Last game of the day, Musical Chair.
Me and Nala got eliminated at about Round 3 together lol XD So I proceeded to take photos!
Who will be the last one standing...!
And Pei Ling it is! The teacher of the home gave her a teddy bear as a prize :D
It was near 2pm when we finished the activities. We took a last group picture with them before we left.
Couldn't resist Ginger XD
When we were about to leave, I urged them for a photo, heyyyyy Pei Ling what's up with that face D: Pei Ling gave me a hug and then squeezed me lightly, I was like omg Pei Ling you're such a precious do you know that ;w;
After urging her to smile, she finally smiled XD
With the guys :D
We left after saying our goodbyes and boarded the bus. Apparently our group was the last to arrive back at Sunway out of all 18 groups. Not to mention that my group had the most fun ever!
Sad that we had limited time, I didn't had the chance to interact each member, and I can't remember their names. Though hopefully we'd bump into each other at university as we're of the same course :) Thanks for the fun experience, couldn't have done it if you guys aren't friendly.
Few final pictures with our HOME leader and lecturer.
Overall, it was an amazing experience for me, it was my first time interacting with a down syndrome person, really an eye-opening experience. It was a great choice to skip lecture for this haha! Hope there's more chances like this. Kudos to Sunway TES for this event, congrats to the organizers!
To the residents of the home, hopefully you don't find us a troublesome bunch and hope that you'll remember us :D