Established in 1956, The Salvation Army Ipoh Boys’ Home accepts orphans and boys with single parents regardless of ethnicities from Standard 4 up to Form 6. Ipoh Echo spoke to Nigel Jones, the assistant superintendent and Kenneth Hooi Wing Ken, the programme coordinator at the home along Jalan Tambun.
“This is a home for boys from at-risk and underprivileged backgrounds,” Nigel said. Hailing from the United Kingdom, Nigel and his Malaysian wife came to Ipoh in February 2013. His wife is attached to The Salvation Army Old Folks Home.
The boys’ home has a capacity of 50. “We actually don’t want to admit boys unless it’s absolutely necessary because they’re better off if they live with their families. When we get referrals then we will investigate by visiting the family, extended relatives and school to see if it is absolutely necessary for the boy to come into the home. So the numbers, for the last 10 years, fluctuate between thirty to forty,” Nigel added. To date, the home houses 32 residents and is managed by 12 keen staff and two officers.
“The Salvation Army is actually a Christian church that I belong to. I am a full-time church worker and have chosen to do this as a career,” the amiable Briton added. The Salvation Army is headquartered in Singapore and operates in Malaysia and Myanmar.
“I had a few classmates when I was in secondary school who were residents of the boys’ home. They had a difficult time due to their family backgrounds. Thinking about that, I volunteered to work here because I want to change the lives of the boys and help them overcome their difficulties. Seeing the boys’ achievements, either in their grades or other talents, motivate me the most,” said Kenneth, who recently completed his degree in psychology. Joining the staff team in December last year, he assumes the role of an elder brother to the boys.
The home currently is in need of voluntary tutors to help the children in their studies, monetary donation and gifts in kind such as school necessities, clothing, sundry items and food products. “Raising money is a challenge, we’ve to work hard every year to raise funds,” Nigel highlighted. The monthly administrative cost of approximately RM83,000 goes to food, clothing, tuition, transport, utility bill, insurance and others.
What is a typical day at work like at the boys’ home? “Generally I receive calls from people, like sponsors, especially during festive seasons and handle the logistics. I also prepare the boys for outings,” Kenneth remarked. His one precious advice to the boys, “Study as hard as possible to achieve a better future.”
On his fondest memories with the boys, the Ipoh boy enthused, “Having barbecue with them!”
The Salvation Army Ipoh Boys’ Home will be organising its annual Open Day on Saturday, October 15 from 9am till 1pm. It is a fun-filled day with food, children performances and a guided tour of the home. Akin to a food festival, coupons are priced at RM10 per booklet. Those who wish to purchase, donate or run a stall can call the home at:Address: 4367, Jalan Tambun, 31400 Ipoh / P.O. Box 221, 30720 Ipoh. Tel: 05 545 7819; Fax: 05 549 5412 Kenneth’s email: Kenneth_Hooi@smm.salvationarmy.org