Ipoh based Yayasan Sultan Idris Shah for the Disabled (YSIS) has grown in the last 27 years to become an internationally recognised centre of skills training for disability management.
It is also the first NGO in the country to initiate a skills training programme that is being sought after by staff of government-run Pusat Permulihan Dalam Komuniti (PDKs) throughout the country, special education teachers, trainees from nursing colleges and other caregivers.
The training programme is to support the government’s efforts in training up more skilled and competent workers in the right techniques of disability management. About 900 personnel have been trained at the centre in Bercham. And steps are being taken to elevate its present certificate course to that of Diploma level.
The centre working in collaboration with the International Association for the Scientific Studies of Intellectual Disabilities (IASSID) and the Welfare Services Department held a series of workshops conducted by highly qualified lecturers from Canada, England and Australia on various aspects of disability management.
Recently, it held a one-week workshop for the Japanese Overseas Volunteers’ Programme, second-year Physiotherapy students from MAHSA College, special education teachers from the Ministry of Education, and nursing students from MRA Institute & Nursing Colleges.
Discussions were held for students from University of Illinois, Boston University and possibly Harvard University to come on attachment to the centre.
For its concerted efforts in rehabilitating the disabled, YSIS has received due recognition with a host of awards amongst which, the Country Winner for the Best NGO Award in 2005 organised by Resource Alliance UK and Citigroup Foundation; the Excellence Award and the Best NGO in Perak in 2006 from the Registrar of Societies; and in 2008 the dual endorsement of the Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development and State Welfare Services Department on its certificates to caregivers on completion of the skills training course.
The YSIS was established in 1982 and headed by Tan Sri V. Jeyaratnam as its chairman ever since. Its sole purpose is to improve the socio-economic well-being and quality of life for adults and children with disabilities, regardless of race, religion and free of any costs.
From the humble beginning of a wooden building, it moved into an eight-acre site in Bercham donated by the State Government 10 years later and gradually set up a state-of-the-art main centre, Pusat Permulihan Sultan Azlan Shah.
Its free community-based rehabilitation programmes, which based on WHO’s modules using multi-disciplinary and holistic approaches, render among others physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech and language therapy, sound and sensory stimulation therapy, music therapy, play therapy, hydrotherapy and hippotherapy (riding for the disabled).
Apart from these, its Social & Community Development Unit runs a comprehensive network system to liaise with relevant government agencies in helping to:
To apply for renewal of motorcycle and car special licenses for disabled;
Inform disabled and their families of the availability of various government aids and allowances and help them to apply for them;
Assist disabled in getting sponsorship for their assistive devices/prosthetics;
Assist them in job placements; and
Plan community-link projects which enable the disabled to integrate with members of the public.
YSIS even provides free transportation to take the disabled to and from their homes to its centre for their rehabilitation sessions, as many could not afford a vehicle while public transportation is generally not disabled friendly.
Its main rehabilitation centre was completed in 2001 and over the years 11 other independent centres were set up throughout the state.