Empowering Dreams and Transforming Lives: The Extraordinary Journey of Persatuan Daybreak

By SeeFoon Chan-Koppen

 In a world often marred by challenges and disparities, there shines a beacon of hope and transformation – Persatuan Daybreak. Established three decades ago by the compassionate visionary Puan Seri Sandra Lee, Daybreak has evolved into a triumphant symbol of empowerment and inclusion for Persons With Disabilities (PWDs) in Kinta, Perak.

The luminous journey embarked by Daybreak and its founder, Puan Seri Sandra Lee, is one that can only be described as exceptional. With an unwavering commitment to making a difference, Puan Seri Lee’s dream of empowering PWDs and helping them find their rightful place in society has been nothing short of transformative. Supported by the benevolent Tan Sri Lee Oi Hean and an army of devoted volunteers, Daybreak embarked on an extraordinary mission.

Founded in 1992, Daybreak began as a shoplot in Ipoh old town selling handicrafts made by volunteers and through the years expanded its scope. Tireless fundraising work led by Sandra and her team of dedicated volunteers led to a shining moment, the inauguration of the New Training Centre in 2003.

One of the most significant chapters in the chronicles of Persatuan Daybreak unfolded in the year 2003. This remarkable year marked the grand inauguration of the new Persatuan Daybreak Training Centre at Pengkalan Pegoh, Perak. The event was graced by the presence of none other than the revered Sultan of Perak, His Royal Highness Sultan Azlan Shah. The ceremony was a true celebration of achievement, dedication, and the unwavering pursuit of inclusivity.

The opening ceremony was a dazzling affair, radiating  the essence of progress and hope. His Highness Sultan Azlan Shah and the esteemed Raja Permaisuri Perak adorned the event with their presence, imparting an air of regality and significance. Their attendance showcased the royal recognition of Daybreak’s vital mission and the immense impact it had on the lives of Persons With Disabilities (PWDs).

The event was not only graced by the royalty, but it also drew luminaries from various spheres of society. Dignitaries such as the Menteri Besar of Perak, the Minister of National Unity and Community Development, the State Secretary, and Ambassadors from countries such as Finland and Germany, attended the ceremony. This gathering of influential personalities testified to the importance of Daybreak’s endeavors in fostering a more inclusive society.

The presence of these dignitaries was a testament to the strides Daybreak had made and the recognition it garnered for its extraordinary work. As the Training Centre’s doors swung open, a sea of possibilities unfolded for PWDs. The ceremony was a tangible affirmation that society was collectively committed to creating a space where every individual, regardless of their abilities, could thrive.


Here, the inception of Daybreak’s pioneering “Together We Work Programme,” an initiative aimed at nurturing Special Needs students from diverse secondary schools in Kinta found its home. The roots of this program trace back to 2007, when it was first introduced. Since then, this program has blossomed, providing essential skills training to over 700 disabled individuals. Daybreak’s commitment to this cause is further exemplified by their continuous efforts to enhance the program, ensuring it evolves with the changing times.

The impact of Daybreak’s mission was tangibly evident when a group of 33 senior officers from Special Education Units across Malaysia visited the Vocational Training Centre recently. These dedicated individuals hailed from distant states such as Labuan, Sarawak, and Perlis, among others.

Special visitors included Pn. JAMILAH KADIR, Deputy Director Of Instructional Development Sector, DR. MOHD. ANUAR BIN ABDULLAH, Deputy Director Of Planning And Research, both From The Special Education Sector, Ministry Of Education. Organized in collaboration with the Special Education Unit, Perak, this visit showcased Daybreak’s “Together We Work Programme” in action.

Witnessing the program firsthand left the visitors profoundly impressed, both by the facilities and the passion exuded by Daybreak’s management and staff.

The heart of Daybreak beats within its Vocational Training Centre at Pengkalan Pegoh, Lahat, Kinta. This center stands as a testament to the unyielding dedication of everyone involved. The facility provides a haven for PWDs to learn and develop skills that empower them to lead independent, self-reliant lives.

The training, ranging from tasks as seemingly mundane as sorting and pasting to more complex endeavors, equips these individuals with the tools they need to thrive in the world of work. Every job, no matter how simple, offers a monumental step toward their self-reliance and empowerment.

Beyond the training, Daybreak’s commitment to securing employment opportunities for its trainees is truly commendable. The center serves as a bridge, connecting the PWDs with suitable employment opportunities. This practical approach not only empowers the PWDs but also redefines societal perceptions of their capabilities.

This transformation is facilitated by key individuals within Daybreak, including Susan, the occupational therapist manager; Samantha, the center manager; and Hoong Lai Ling, the sales executive. These dedicated individuals have played a pivotal role in nurturing the center’s remarkable achievements.

The heartening journey of Daybreak is not only a testament to the power of dedication and compassion but also a saga of milestones and collaborations. Collaborations with organizations such as the Phoenix Society in Adelaide, Australia, have enriched the training programs and paved the way for continuous improvement. These collaborations reinforce Daybreak’s ethos: a belief in the potential of every individual, regardless of their physical challenges.

Through the years, Daybreak has expanded its impact, offering not just training but also income-generating opportunities for PWDs. Their diverse range of enterprises, from assembly and packaging to handicraft and plant nurseries, showcase the spectrum of skills harnessed at the center. These enterprises have not only contributed to the financial independence of the PWDs but have also transformed lives, instilling a sense of pride and purpose.

As Daybreak celebrates its 30th anniversary, it stands as a testament to the unflagging efforts of a compassionate team that believes in the transformative power of empowerment. The impact reverberates far beyond the center’s walls, touching the lives of countless PWDs and reshaping communities. With unwavering determination, Daybreak continues to create a brighter future, one where disabilities are not limitations but opportunities for growth and inclusion.

The triumphant inauguration of the Training Centre in 2003 was not merely a ceremonial event. It was a testament to the fulfillment of Daybreak’s mission, a culmination of years of dedication, collaboration, and hard work. The Training Centre was not just a physical structure; it was a sanctuary of learning, growth, and transformation for PWDs. It was a place where dreams took shape, where potential was nurtured, and where individuals could embark on a journey of self-discovery.

In a world often overshadowed by challenges, Daybreak serves as a reminder that every individual, regardless of their abilities, deserves a chance to shine. Puan Seri Sandra Lee’s vision, fueled by the support of Tan Sri Lee Oi Hean and countless dedicated volunteers, has cultivated an oasis of empowerment, turning dreams into reality for those who need it most. Daybreak’s journey stands as a testament to the power of unity, compassion, and unyielding dedication in fostering a better future for PWDs.

Account Number: 0080 1061 6099

After making a donation, kindly email the deposit slip with your name (as per I.C.), address and contact number, so we can issue a tax exempt receipt for your monetary contribution.

Training Centre is located at:
Lot 75242, Jalan Pulai RPT Pengakalan Pegoh, 31500 Lahat Perak Darul Ridzuan.
Persatuan Daybreak is now on S Shopee: persatuandaybreak
Here you may purchase handicrafts made by the PWDs and help a worthy cause.

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