Wednesday, 4 June 2008

RDA: To Reach In, You Must First Reach Out...




Entrance to the Equestrian Centre, Perak Turf Club where the RDA sessions take place...





As some of you already know, I've been back in Ipoh for slightly more than a month now. Since then, I've started going back to the hospital to help, although very much less often than before because of my heavy schedule...


I've also started volunteering at the RDA in Ipoh...My 17 year-old brother, Nicholas and one of his close friends also join us...



It's really nice to be able to continue helping out at the RDA, a program I enjoyed tremendously while in Penang...

Although the way things are run are different here in Ipoh compared to Penang, the essential thing is the same: To reach out to these special kids...


In Penang, many of the children had Down Syndrome (with the occasional Cerebral Palsy and Autism), while here in Ipoh, you see more 'balance' between the three.



But, I'm still having fun! Judging from my brother's enthusiasm, he is enjoying it too! Over here in Ipoh, we work with about 6 horses/ponies, opposed to Penang's two (Little Squaw and Landmark). If I got my numbers right, 2 of them are horses, while the remaining 4 are ponies...I can't tell for sure, because I usually stick to one or two particular ponies (Bush-Baby and Mel), and don't really bother counting the rest...





Some of the horses/ponies waiting for their riders...




In the past few weeks, I have been working with *Simon, a 4 year-old with Autism, *Katie, an 18 year-old with intellectual impairment, and *Shahrul, a 14 year-old with Autism. Simon is a sleepy little boy, who never says a word, except to his parents (he has got a lovely mum), and communicates with me by using his hands (like taking my hands and touching his face when he wants his helmet off)...



Katie hugs everybody she meets (I think she gave my bro and his friend quite a shock when she threw her arms around them!) and is extremely shy...



Shahrul, on the other hand, communicates very well! He lacks eye-contact, and has to be constantly reminded to look people in the eye, but he chats with us like old friends...It was about to rain while he was on the horse, so I made a casual remark about the weather, to which he quipped: "Mestilah hujan hari ni. Kan hari ni ada pasar malam", with the straightest face! *Lol*




I might have been helping out for quite a while now, and yet, I find that every week, I still learn something new, whether it is from the horses, or the children, or their families...



You know, I was initially struck by how different the same program can be. After all, both Penang and Ipoh have RDA, but the way it is run differs quite a bit. And yet, they both have the same purpose: To reach out...

And they both are superb in doing just that...




And in this, I remember one of the most important lessons in life, and that is, the only way we can reach into ourselves, is to first reach out to someone else...

Juxtaposition, huh? You bet!




*Note: Names have been changed...




16 comments:

Kerp (Ph.D) said...

hey, i'm quite surprised that shahrul can be quite witty. that proves these kids can be very intelligent. what these special kids need is proper guidance from their loved ones and experts and i can safely bet on all the money in my crappy agro-bgro account, they can go farther than what normally society believes.

*did you get any massage as you wished for?

Akmal said...

Hey Daph :)
Waaah having fun, are you not? ;)

Jo-D said...

I wish I could also come for this program. You really have a lot of fun don't you? Thank you for sharing! You are such a daling.

Dhahran Sea said...

Hi Daph,
Hope you have a good well-deserved break! Saw your posting in Doc Tokasid & realized I haven't been visiting your blog for quite a while... but as always, I know you'd be doing your usual great thing of helping the unfortunate children. May God bless you always! Btw, when are u leaving for further studies? I'll be getting back home July-Aug for 'summer' break & hope to be able to see you then (and introduce my family to you?). Take care & best regards.

Zawi said...

Daph,
How wonderful to have your brother and his friend join you in this volunteer activities. Not many youths his age would want to spend time doing such things. I am extremely proud of you for inculcating such a good trait among your sibling.

Daphne Ling said...

Hey Danny,

That's what I've always wanted to share with everyone...That although these children might be 'different', they're still people, with personalities, talents, quirks etc.

Nope...I couldn't find my massage lady...=(

Daphne Ling said...

Hey Akmal,

Yeah! You should try it sometime...Hehehe...;)

Daphne Ling said...

Hey Jo-D,

You're in Miri, is it? Sorry lar, I have lost track...

I'm not sure if Miri has the RDA program. I can ask, and then email you? I'm sure you would enjoy it too. It's great fun, you meet lotsa new people, you get some exercise and you definitely learn a lot! =)

Daphne Ling said...

Hi Dhahran Sea,

Oh, my break was a hectic one...I think I had less rest during my break! Haha...Seriously ler...Had to many things crammed up. Thanks for asking though! ;)

Thanks for coming back and checking up on me...=) I'll be leaving somewhere mid-August or so. It would be great to meet up with as many people as possible before going, so sure, do holler! My email is: bsb_n555kc@yahoo.co.uk

Cheerio!

Daphne Ling said...

Hi Pak Zawi,

Haha...I actually dragged my brother along, and he grumbled all the way...

BUT, he found he enjoyed himself, and he's the one that will 'remind' me we have RDA, like 2 days before!

So mum is very pleased he is very enthusiastic about it, and has even brought one of his good friends along!

See? You never know what you like until you try...=)

Anonymous said...

Excellent! I never thought turf club will have this service for chidlren. Is it free? By the way I also think it is excellent that there are young people who volunteer for it to help. Thank yous for blogging and sharing about this.

Faridah Khan said...

Daphne, I just came back from abroad, brought my daughter for her grnadma to see, and came by to check your blog. No surprises to see you are still so you! Keep it up. Keep blogging. I adore you!

Hilmi Hamzah said...

Hi Daph!

The work that you are doing there requires strong willpower and passion. For that reason, i admire whatever you are doing with these special kids.

Keep us the noble work, ya!

Cheers...

Daphne Ling said...

Hi Anon 08:37,

Thanks for coming by...The program is free for the children (but it depends on which Turf Club also. Some collect a token fee to encourage the children to remain committed)...

You're most welcome! And thank you for reading it...=)

Daphne Ling said...

Hi Faridah,

Oooh...So grandma finally got to see the little princess, huh? Good! How is she now, anyway? And thanks for the comment! =)

Daphne Ling said...

Hi Hilmi Hamzah,

Thank you very much for coming by and leaving me a note. =) Sorry it took me so long to reply, but I got caught up in some stuff, and forgot the last two comments...*Sheepish look*

But yes, passion is very important. It is the driving force of many, many things, isn't it?