Touching Annual Concert
Joy comes to everyone in many different forms, especially at this time of year - and when that joy becomes mutually shared, all seems good with the world.
That's how it felt when the students from the Touch Community, Rasah put on their annual concert in December in front of their parents and families.
Weeks of practise with their teachers culminated in some of the OKU students putting on some wonderful performances including dancing, acting and singing, much to the amazement of the crowd of more than fifty people.
Smiles, giggles and fun was the order of the night for both the children and spectators as they launched into their variety of acts.
Of course there were some occasional missed lines, stoppages mid-performance and a few memory lapses but judging by the smiles on everybody's faces and the teachers coaching from the sidelines it was of no consequence, this was a night of achievement, fun and laughter for the students.
Dr Pushpa Devi, who has been chairman of the Touch Community Society since April, 2017, has a daughter Sarveena Kaur, pictured below, attending the school and explains the Touch Community Centre's goals.
"At the end of the year we try to have the concert so the parents can come up and see their children perform, it was one of the best concerts we've had, the teachers worked very hard this year to train them, it's not easy," she says.
"The concert is a great experience for them as no two children are the same, so we try to focus individually and give them lots of training to make each of them as independent as they can be. We have 23 students aged from 4 years old to the oldest who is 31 who all have different needs and abilities."
Dr Pushpa and her husband Dr Rajindeer Singh have a general practice and dermatology clinic nearby and volunteer their services, like other parents, to the Touch Community Centre, which has been active since 2002.
"My priority as chairman is to organise the centre and generate fundraising activities, that's the main thing, and also to make sure the school is running properly. We have to ensure the teachers have what they need and also provide some training for them because there is a lot of one-to-one contact needed"
The Touch Community Centre has two sections, juniors and seniors, with the focus on teaching the juniors through play, which includes colouring, learning the alphabet, making calculations as well as social activities, with the goal being to integrate those who are capable into the normal Malaysian schooling system.
"The seniors on the other hand we try to focus on making them independent so that they can hopefully learn all they can about living one day. We teach them cooking, how to prepare meals, most of them know how to take care of themselves, about how to button up, take a shower, those sorts of things."
Dr Pushpa hopes that in the future the centre can lessen some of the dependence on fundraising and donations to keep the Centre operational by earning some money in a method that will help the students blend into society. She hopes Touch Community can follow the example of other centres that have taken on simple work like packing products in boxes for corporations.
"We are thinking perhaps of having a cafe at our centre or outside somewhere whereby the students have made their cakes, biscuits and food at the centre and can then learn to serve coffee and tea, we'll hopefuly be able to do this next year."
"We are always on the lookout for donors to help out as it is not cheap to run. We are very lucky one of the parents allows us to use the home for the centre rent free because every little bit of saving helps."
Her daughter Sarveena looks over towards us and smiles as if agreeing with her mum's words and ideas.
"We want to make our children as independent as possible because like all parents we worry what will happen to our children after we die, It's every parents concern, and one that is accentuated when you have an OKU child."
If you can help in any way, as a volunteer or donor, you can contact Dr Pushpa through the Touch Community FaceBook page. https://www.facebook.com/groups/1579251302335400/