The Origins of SAMH
A very long time ago (1963 to be exact), there was a group of concerned parents who wanted to help the special needs children who could not help themselves. They wanted to give them the same educational opportunities that everyone else in the country took for granted. And so, on July 27th 1964, they came together and started the non-profit voluntary body, Selangor Association for Retarded Children, starting with just one teacher and four children. In 1974 they changed the name to the Selangor and Federal Territory Association for Retarded Children and later as their ideal grew, they changed it again to its current name Selangor and Federal Territory Association for the Mentally Handicapped aka SAMH.
Now SAMH operates in three different centres: Wisma Harapan, Brickfields, Jinjang North and Klang, catering to almost 300 special children and adults.
What they have done
SAMH works hard towards providing education, training, employment and care for special mentally challenged children and adults so that they can reach their full potential and improve their quality of life.
They have four programs to this effect. They are:
- Early Intervention Programme which caters to children aged 6 & below
- A School Programme which caters students from 7 to 17 years old
- Vocational Training Programme which prepares young people for work and assists in job placements for adults aged 18 years and above
- Sheltered Workshop which for trainees who have completed the Vocational Training Programme in SAMH
Each programme is structured according to the needs of the students and the trainees to enable them to become independent, integrate meaningfully into society and earn a living with dignity and respect.
A Special interview with a special person
Being the unique Charity organisation that it is, the people from SAMH have some incredible stories to share. We met up with Ms. Veni, an educator at SAMH and talked to her about some things she’s experienced while at the organisation
How long have you worked at SAMH? Are there any special moments you remember, and would like to share them with us?
I have experienced a lot of wonderful moments and made some beautiful memories working with SAMH for the past 28 years. When I’m stressed with a lot of work, talking and communicating with the special children helps me forget about all the stress. The children make me laugh and are very loving. I am truly happy to be here.
One experience which I can’t forget was when I was appointed as a head teacher in 1995 at Cheras Special School (Now it’s closed unfortunately).
The teachers and I had organized a telematch for 65 students. It was a very successful event. The publicity from the media helped create awareness in the public. Donors came in to donate to the special school, which was situated in a remote area.
What made you decide to join this industry?
Having been trained as a special educator, I want the Mentally Challenged to learn and succeed when others think they cannot. I want to make a difference in their lives. I want to help them reach their full potential and also help the parents of these special people. So many of our students are brilliant and possess many talents and skills. They just need to be offered the right platform, have people who can get through to them to do the best they possibly can, and not let them down. It’s a challenging job and I’m happy to see the development of the students.
Would you like to share with us some of the stories about the children you have helped? Where are these children now?
Leviyatharini, 18 years old, who is a student at Vocational Training Centre came to Wisma Harapan 3 years ago with her grandmother. Both her parents left her with her grandmother when she was young. She has cerebral palsy and is a slow learner. I helped her gather funds for her school fees and she has been sponsored by P.I.D.M. (Perbadanan Insurans Deposits Malaysia). I remember getting for her a new pair of spectacles. We sponsored her for sports training, uniform and other things. Now she represents Selangor State for Paralympic games (athletics). She has won a lot of medals and cash. She actively takes part in dancing and singing.
Tell us about Mohd Rezza Bin Mohd Rashid, the Paralympian who participated in sea games.
Mohd. Rezza Bin Mohd. Rashid is 33 years old. He has Cerebral Palsy and is mentally challenged. He works at the Speed Mart in Bangsar. He is a praiseworthy sportsman and has taken part in many athletic events, such as:-
(i) Asean Para Games
- Korat Thailand 2007 (200m -Silver)
- Hong Kong 2003 (400m – silver), (200m-Bronze)and(100m -Bronze)
- Malaysia 2017 (SEA Games) – (200m and 400m – Bronze)
(ii) Paralimpiad Malaysia:
- (Year 2008 -200m -Bronze)
- (Year 2010 – 400m – Bronze)
- (Year 2014 – 400m – Bronze, 200m -Silver)
- (Year 2015 – Futsal championship Singapore Open 1st place)
- (Year 2016 – 200m – Silver)
(iii) Sirkirt Paralimpik – Stadium TLDM Lumut Perak Year 2015 – (200m and 400m- Gold and silver)
(iv) Stadium Majlis Sukan Negara 2015 – 200m – Bronze
We are honoured that his sports training is managed by SAMH.
How would you like people to help?
We are looking for donations to meet our annual budget of RM 2.5 Million (cost of 3 centers serving 300 children/adults with mental disabilities)
- Sponsor a student fee for RM 3000 per year
- Educational materials and stationeries
- Paying utility bills
- Volunteers and therapists
How will LoveRun help SAMH?
SAMH is currently facing financial difficulties in toilet maintenance. They have 96 adult students using the toilets (Male and Female toilets). Since the Wisma Harapan building is 54 years old, the toilets get blocked and sometimes stop working entirely. They need nice, clean toilets for their students.
LoveRun plans to renovate the toilets and provide them with the proper sanitation facilities that they so desperately need.
The people in SAMH put all their hearts and souls into the work they do. They do it because they know that every little bit of work is going into helping these special children and adults. Their compassion gives these children the ability to live better lives, one in which they can hold their heads high in any society.
Every little bit counts. We at LoveRun hope that the public will join us and take part in playing a crucial role in changing the lives of those in need and helping those who cannot help themselves.
We plan to do our very best, and you can too. Come and run with us, join the LoveRun.
If you have any questions or you want to register for the LoveRun then send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org
Be sure to check the SAMH website for yourself.