Saturday, March 6, 1999
Sultan Opens Rehab Centre in Bercham
By V. Sivaji
THE Sultan of Perak Sultan Azlan Shah officiated at the opening ceremony
of the Sultan Azlan Shah Rehabilitation Centre in Bercham recently.
"I am happy to note that such programmes have not only benefited people
with physical disabilities in Perak but also those outside the State,"
he said in his message carried in the souvenir programme to mark the
He also praised those involved for sharing their expertise in imparting
community based rehabilitation programmes to welfare groups in other
parts of the country.
The centre located on an eight-acre site donated by the State Givernment
costs RM 2 million.
Yayasan Sultan Idris Shah Foundation, a non-profit organisation established
in 1982, funds the cost of running the centre.
Sultan Azlan Shah said with the hardcore poor being almost eradicated
in the State, efforts were being made to alleviate the plight of people
with physical disabilities.
Also present at the event was the Canadian high Commissioner Andre S.
Simard, who has been supportive of the centre's activities.
Sultan Azlan Shah also noted that the centre provided rehabilitation
skills and proficiency training for primary level caregivers working
with about 350 voluntary welfare organizations all over the country.
"I am informed that a pilot training course for basic CBR skills designed
by international experts was conducted last year," he said. The official
course is expected to be implemented next month.
Chairman of the centre Tan Sri V. Jeyaratnam said the centre was first
located in a dilapidated building with just a handful of disabled persons
to care for.
Today, the centre engages volunteer professional occupational therapists,
physiotherapists, speech therapists and social workers from New Zealand,
England, Germany, Japan and India.
"The Foundation has made great strides in the rehabilitation scene and
with the co-operation of local community members, has set up 12 centres
including the main centre in Bercham," Jeyaratnam said.
"Among the advantages of establishing widely spread CBR centres throughout
the Perak are the disabled persons in remote areas, especially children
from poor families, have easy access to the nearest centre in order
to receive necessary treatment.
" The Foundation has also an additional support network for the disabled
such as Spinal Wheelers Club, whose members being wheelchair-bound are
trained to overcome their frustration of limited mobility and the Special
Bikers Club, for people with mobility disabilities who use specially
modified motorcycles for transportation.
"The Foundation has a proud record of having provided free rehabilitation
services to more than 3,000 disabled people mainly children," he said.