PENAMPANG: Located in Taman Donggongon here is Tolumis Home, a non-profit care centre for people with special needs.
It is operated by Ching Mee Sapai with the help of her 20-year-old daughter Wenna Chong and a helper. They look after 25 special needs people ranging from three to 78 years old. Wenna is currently studying ‘Early Childhood’ at UiTM.
Twenty are residents of the home and five are day residents, said Ching, adding that they are from various racial backgrounds and from all over the state.
“We take care of orphans, abuse victims, the handicapped, the autistic, and the elderly,” she said.
The care centre which was started in 1998 has been operating on voluntary basis as it has yet to get any assistance from the government.
“Our expenses are about RM8,000 a month and we get by with donations from the public,” said Ching.
Sometimes, the parents of those they care make their contributions but it is not often because most of them are also from poor families.
“I will apply to the state government for assistance because we cannot be depending solely on public donations,” she said.
She also hopes the government could help by providing them with a bigger area as Tolumis Home is currently located in a rented house at Taman Donggongon.
“It would be good to have bigger premises so that those that we care for can play outside. Now it’s not possible for them to do so because we have no compound,” she said.
The civil servant attached to Institut Perguruan Kent in Tuaran said she travels to and from Donggongon to her workplace daily. It’s tough, but she pointed out that she never uses her volunteer work as an excuse to shirk her duties.
In fact this is the advice she gives to university undergraduates who comes to Tolumis Home to do charity work.
“I tell them that they must not use charity work as an excuse for truancy or tardiness,” she said.
Tolumis Home started with two residents from Ranau in 1998 and it has expanded to 25 now.
“I have always heard people talking about helping the less fortunate but have never done anything about it. With me, I felt that I must help the needy which was why I decided to do it on a voluntary basis,” she said.
She said she started by providing care services as well as physiotherapy massages for the handicapped and later expanded the work to the home where she can care for the less fortunate.
Ching is grateful for all the assistance that the home has received all this while as it has made running the home a bit easier adding that those who wish to assist Tolumis Home can contact her personally on 013-8725418.
Staff members of Double Up Cafe and Lounge in Kota Kinabalu visited Tolumis Home yesterday to spend time with the residents as well as hand over a donation to Ching.
The RM8,000 contribution was handed over by Double Up Cafe and Lounge area manager, JC Lim.
“We hope that it could help in providing better facilities for the children,” he said, adding that the donation was the fulfilment of part of the company’s ongoing corporate service responsibility (CSR).
Double Up Cafe and Lounge’s manager Rachel Miji and assistant manager Michael Allen were also present at the cheque presentation ceremony.