In the Hindu culture, as in many Asian cultures, disability is seen as a sign of bad luck or a punishment. People prefer that children with a disability aren’t seen, so they are isolated, hidden away. Bethany Home in Malaysia reflects a different way of looking at special needs, a way of showing love and […]
In the Hindu culture, as in many Asian cultures, disability is seen as a sign of bad luck or a punishment. People prefer that children with a disability aren’t seen, so they are isolated, hidden away.
Bethany Home in Malaysia reflects a different way of looking at special needs, a way of showing love and of serving others. Its aim is to ‘help others who help others’.
Bethany Home is run by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Malaysia and Australian Lutherans have served there as volunteers over the past 20 years. Established more than 50 years ago as a place of refuge for those with epilepsy and one where people were brought to be healed of their ‘spiritual condition’, it became a place where trained nurses looked after the medical needs of the children. It is now a day facility and home for those with special needs.
The home caters for 160 students and residents and 80 per cent attend daily. The staff love the students and the home has continued to be develop around the residents’ needs. Some students take part in internal workshop programs, while open programs operate to integrate others into the local community.
Geeta’s 34-year-old son Sri is a resident at Bethany. After Geeta’s husband died, Bethany Home conducted the funeral. As a result, Sri was baptised and while Geeta’s family asked her to return to Kuala Lumpur to live, she says, ‘here I have a life, in Kuala Lumpur I only have things’.
Listening to the residents has helped Bethany to develop a strong focus on skills, and to find a meaningful task for everyone, especially adults. There you may see residents serving as posties, messengers, gardeners and assistant teachers. Many wear the same staff shirt as the principal. ‘These are the things that help build team and give a sense of purpose’, says Bethany’s director, Reverend Karthik Sibanyanam.
Funds, helpers and training are always need to keep the home operating, but there are more than just good programs and nice ideas at work at Bethany. You feel the love of a Christian family at work. You see people in love with Jesus and the people around them – people gaining great joy from serving.
It is a community full of hope as they learn to love and be loved.
If you would like to consider the opportunity to serve as a volunteer in mission, serving in practical ways, teaching English, teaching in the seminaries and institutions of our partner churches, or in local churches, you are invited to phone Nevin on (08) 8267 7300 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, go to http://www.lcamission.org.au/join-gods-mission/volunteer/
Read more stories about volunteering at http://www.lcamission.org.au/category/join-gods-mission/volunteers/