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Rotary Club starts one-year donation drive at 26 mini markets

DONATION boxes will be placed in all 26 Jom ke 3M Mini Market Meraya branches in Kuala Lumpur and Petaling Jaya as part of a charity drive aimed at raising funds for the Selangor and Federal Territory Association For The Mentally Handicapped (SAMH). Organised by the Rotary Club of Kuala Lumpur (RCKL) in collaboration with Luan Seng Bros Trading Co Sdn Bhd, the donation drive will be held for one year, and extended if necessary. All proceeds will go towards covering the expenses of SAMH which operates three schools for the mentally challenged in Brickfields, Jinjang and Klang. The schools, which recently celebrated their 52nd anniversary, currently have about 300 students ranging from three months to 60 years old, and run multiple programmes such as the Early Intervention Programme (EIP) for younger learners, three levels of School Programmes, Vocational Training Programmes that prepare students for work and job placements and Sheltered Workshops that provide employment to their vocational training programme students.

Currently, the schools charge RM300 a month per student for the Early Intervention Programme and RM240 per student for the other three programmes. Despite the grants given by the Government, the amount is still insufficient to cover the schools' general expenses, meals as well as the salaries of their staff. "SAMH requires about RM140,000 a month, or RM2.2mil a year," said SAMH president Datin Fauziah Idris at the launch of the donation drive at Shangri-La Hotel, Kuala Lumpur.

"We are constantly running short of the funds required to run the place." She added that there had been plans to set up a group home in Klang to house the mentally challenged in response to parents' concerns but the constant lack of funds made it an impossible task. RCKL has been helping and supporting SAMH through several fundraising efforts over the past eight years. It recently gave a cash donation of RM20,000 and helped upgrade fire extinguishers at the school in Brickfields. "It is definitely not easy to take care and run such schools, especially in terms of finding suitable teachers as well as educational materials to cater to replica watches for mens the students' needs," said RCKL vocational service director Suren Keshawa P.G.D. Hendry. RCKL past president Chan Kam Fatt, who has visited the schools a number of times, said SAMH needed all the help they could get. "They've done a fantastic job. The centre is very well-run," he said. The event also saw BRDB Rotary Children's Residence principal Kalavathy Raman receiving contributions for the newly-opened group home for needy and at-risk children in Seri Kembangan.

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