Twelve Girl Guides from London and South East Region in the United Kingdom, and their four group leaders, visited Persatuan Pemulihan Sultan Azlan Shah in Bercham for a week recently. The reason for their visit was to build a Sensory Garden-cum-Play Therapy to benefit children with disabilities at the rehabilitation centre.
This Girl Guides Project 2012, which took two years of discussion and preparation, required RM22,000. British Girl Guides (UK) donated RM7,000, BAIDURI Perak gave RM5,000 while the remaining RM10,000 was from Tan Sri Tan Foundation.
The purpose of setting up the sensory garden, a disabled-friendly garden, is to enable children with disabilities to undergo therapy in a garden environment. This helps with their sensory integration, incorporating various sensory needs, including touch, visual, sound and smell.
Presently some 280 such children are treated at the Bercham centre. They come with a range of disabilities like learning difficulties, mild autism and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), global development delay, Down syndrome and cerebral palsy. The children will benefit greatly from the various sensory inputs, which will stimulate them.
This project by the Girl Guides from UK followed the successful project carried out by a 19-member 177th Scout Group, Scouting Ireland, in 2008, who were at the centre to help set up a Sound and Sensory Room. The room greatly benefits children with severe disabilities, especially infants with cerebral palsy and severe limb paralysis.
Ten local Girl Guides from SM Convent, Ipoh, chaperoned by State Commissioner, Foong Poh Lin, and four committee members, visited the UK Girl Guides at the centre one afternoon. The two groups of guides engaged themselves in games and various activities.
The rehab centre welcomes assistance from NGOs and those wanting to help, as the children need all the assistance they can get to make them mobile and independent.