Last month, the Batu Gajah Welfare Home for Disabled Children went under fire
after photos of special needs children confined in cages went viral on social media. Many people felt that it was inhumane and that the home could have handled this matter better
. The 10 cages have since been dismantled and the children are now placed in a hall.
R. Sivalingam, chairman of the welfare home, told Malay Mail
that the management decided to place the residents in a hall on the condition that the workers are there to monitor them. Although the cubicles were initially meant to separate the mentally challenged residents for safety reasons, the management has adhered to instructions from the welfare authorities not to isolate them any longer.
However, Sivalingam’s main concern was the shortage of staff when it comes to night time because the workers are not willing to work at night. There will only be a few workers, who also have to attend to the other residents in the home.
He added that the home is going through some difficult times right now because the aid provided by the state government had been reduced. “The government allocation has been reduced from RM130,000 to RM65,000. This has made it difficult for us to improve the conditions,” Sivalingam said. “Furthermore, the workers are not well trained but we can’t send them for training as we don’t have the financial means.” This amount is not sufficient for the home to provide the best medication and acquire the most skilled therapists.
In a bid to give their fundings a boost, the home has begun organising fundraising events like food fairs to cover their expenses. “One of the things we hope to do is to renovate the space where the cubicles once were. We hope to have an area with an animation theme for the residents,” Sivaligam said. The home has also appealed for assistance from the public and corporate sectors.