News Release

Partners Provide Service for the Disabled  

Webster's Dictionary defines partners as "one associated with another, especially in action". LDS Charities and Rotary Club of Melawati, along with Rotary Club of Bandar Utama, in Malaysia recently came together as partners. The partnership resulted in action through training assessors to provide wheelchairs for the disabled who cannot afford to purchase the aid themselves. LDS Charities is an arm of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The Rotary Club represent 72 chapters in Malaysia.

On January 31 and February 2 & 3, twenty three participants were trained by LDS Charities' Wheelchair Specialists, Gaye and Kim Brown, from Utah USA, to assess and fit wheelchairs to needy disabled persons. The training conforms to World Health Organization Standards. Following the training, thirty eight recipients were invited to be assessed and individually fitted for a new wheelchair at no cost to them. Another partnership was formed prior to the training. The Damai Center for the Disabled Malaysia offered the use their facilities for the 3-day training. Five of their residents received new wheelchairs. The President of Damai Center, has been in a wheelchair since age 19 because of a spinal injury. While attending a Conference in Oregon USA in 1997, he visited a home for the disabled. He saw a need for such a center in Malaysia. In 1998 his dream became a reality and Damai Center for the Disabled began, modeled after the center in Oregon.

Abdul Razak has been in a wheelchair for almost 50 years. At the age of 8 months, Abdul contracted Polio. Abdul expressed appreciation to LDS Charities and the Rotary Club for providing him with a new chair that was fitted specifically for him. Some of the recipients were first time wheelchair users. Vanaja, is a cancer survivor. The treatment for the cancer in her hip and a subsequent hip replacement, left her weak and unable to walk more than 10 minutes, even with the aid of crutches. "I am so happy to receive this chair, it will make all the difference", she said. She has been waiting for a wheelchair for almost 16 months. Her new wheelchair brought a happy smile to her face.

A year ago Roya suffered a stroke which left her very weak and unable to use her legs properly. She arrived at the wheelchair training in a previously owned chair that was worn and not the correct size. Following an assessment and fitting by the newly-trained assessors, she received a new wheelchair. "I am very grateful", she shared. Her smile and tears of joy were evidence enough that the newly formed partnership was bearing positive results. Thirteen year old Hafizah and her eleven year old brother, Azwar, arrived in chairs that were too small and worn, with brakes not working and no foot rests. Their Mother was filled with appreciation for the Rotary Clubs and LDS Charities, the partners "who are making our lives more bearable. This is a blessing to us".

The Rotary Clubs have established a network from north to south in West Malaysia for the delivery of LDS Charities wheelchairs. These medical aids will be sent to the partner clubs throughout this portion of the country. The assessors trained in Kuala Lumpur will return to their club areas and assist other Rotarians to identify those in need of a new wheelchair.

Special guest, Bathmavathi Krishnan, a member of the National Council for Persons with Disabilities and newly appointed Senator to the Dewan Negara (Upper House) of the Parliament of Malaysia, spoke on the importance of a wheelchair for the disabled. "A wheelchair gives you a life. You are not confined to a home. A wheelchair is part of a disabled person's body". She hoped there would be a long association with LDS Charities in providing wheelchairs. Raja Renno, President of Rotary Club of Melawati and one of the organizers of the event, welcomed LDS Charities and said he could see "the beginning of grand partnership which can continue for many years to come. Our journey together is just beginning". 

 The goal of LDS Charities is to relieve suffering throughout the world. The partnership with Rotary Clubs in Malaysia provide the action which will help achieve that goal.   

Style Guide Note:When reporting about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, please use the complete name of the Church in the first reference. For more information on the use of the name of the Church, go to our online Style Guide.