The residents of Bangsa Ria was out and about in the porch of their new residence in Section 17, Petaling Jaya. Ahmad Faris, 47 and Vincent, 24 were doing physical activities with the guidance of a caretaker.
Inside, we met Mr.Nagappan, chairman of Bangsa Ria and Ms.Johanna Tan, the tresurer.
According to Nagappan, Bangsa Ria was first founded by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Brickfields, Kuala Lumpur. Bangsa Ria is a day care centre for people who are mentally and physically challenged The centre initially operated in Bangsar. However, the church that started it decided to close down the centre abruptly. Then, parents had no choice but to step up and look for funders to operate the centre. In 2006, Bangsa Ria was registered under the Registry of Soceities (ROS) Malaysia and they began
to operate once again.
Currently, there are nine adults under their supervision. They are Ahmad Faris, 47; Mabel, 46; Weng Yung, 44; Cheran, 39; Kannan, 34; Vincent, 24; Eunice, 21; Faizal, 16; and Aaron, 16. Each one is different from the other . Some have autism and/or are severely mentally challenged with various disabilities who are fully dependent. Johanna’s son, Vincent has Down syndrome while Nagappan’s son, Kannan has cerebral palsy.
As we chatted on, Johanna explained that initially, they were charging a fee of RM200 from parents. However, recently, they had to hike it up to RM400 to meet the rising cost of living.
They have two full time staff and a maid who comes to help everyday. Their monthly expenses, including the salary of the caretakers and maid, amount up to RM10,000. “We don’t know how we’re going to survive”, Johanna expressed her concern.
Bangsa Ria is dependent on donations and the rising price of goods is not helping. Besides that, they also need more caretakers who will be able to help them with the day-to-day care of these special people at the day care centre.
Bangsa Ria’s long term goals comprise of having a solely owned property which will be the shelter of its residents.
They would also very much appreciate if there would be a benefactor to cover their monthly excess expenditure. They are also on a look out for a corporate foundation that will be able to take over Bangsa Ria as the parents are all senior citizens. The major concern here is they are ageing and they are afraid they may not be around to see to their children’s welfare in the future.