Yayasan Sultan Idris Shah Foundation for the Disabled, Perak (YSIS) is the brainchild of Tan Sri Dato Seri V Jeyaratnam, a prominent lawyer and philanthropist based in Ipoh. Together with two of his friends, Dato Chew Choong Seong and Dato Yap Lim Sen, YSIS was conceived to address the lack of rehabilitation centres in Ipoh. Tan Sri realized the pressing need for a holistic rehabilitation centre to provide effective rehabilitative therapy for adults and children with disabilities, hence YSIS would be the perfect platform to resolve the problem.
YSIS' operations commenced in a dilapidated makeshift building on an abandoned housing construction site office in Silibin with bare amenities in 1982. We started with just four people with disabilities. Based on the recommendation of two Australian therapists who visited YSIS, the foundation eventually became the first to introduce community-based rehabilitation in Perak. In 1992, YSIS moved to an eight-acre piece of land in Bercham donated by the state government and is under the royal patronage of the late Sultan of Perak. The new rehabilitation centre is named Persatuan Pemulihan Sultan Azlan Shah.
It has been generally recognised that Institutional Rehabilitation can only account for 10-15% of rehabilitation needs of a person with disabilities. The rest of the rehabilitation work comprising between 85-90% has to be the responsibility of the Community as advocated by the World Health Organization (WHO) that 'Community Based Rehabilitation (CBR) is a strategy for enhancing the quality of life of people with disabilities'. This requires a holistic establishment of a networking system of getting the community involved with various support from families, caregivers, hospitals, government departments, doctors and the private sectors rendering assistance.
YSIS has taken the lead to be the first non-governmental organisation to pioneer, practice and continuously develop the CBR concept. Since then, we have been advocating the CBR approach as the most cost- effective method of bridging the gap in rehabilitation needs, which would include the readjustment process of a modified lifestyle, within a disability.
The Foundation's emphasis on such outreach programmes has led to the establishment of community based rehabilitation centres withing the state of Perak, especially to enable the poor within the rural community with easy access to rehabilitation services, without having to travel to Ipoh, which can be a burden to the families and cumbersome to the person or child with disability.