Wheelchair-bound man runs home for disabled kids in Malaysia

JOHOR BARU - Mohd Yahya Hairdrus may be wheelchair-bound but this has not stopped him from reaching out to others with physical disabilities.

To prove that nothing is impossible, the 40-year-old has set up a centre for disabled children in Taman Johor Jaya.

The father of seven children opened the home two months ago with support from his wife, a businesswoman.

"There are no words to describe. I've only God to thank for enabling us to give back to society by helping the less fortunate," he said in an interview.

The Pertubuhan Kebajikan & Penjagaan Kanak-Kanak Kurang Upaya is housed in a rented double-storey corner lot.

It offers full-time care to seven children, aged between three and 13 years old, with physical disabilities, down syndrome, autism and mental health problems.

"We do not charge fixed payments for those who want to send their children to our home," said Yahya, adding that most of the children were from poor families.

Yahya said he was born with polio and only started using the wheelchair about three years ago after a fall. Prior to that, he used a walking stick to get around.

Yahya said he needed between RM5,000 and RM6,000 monthly to run the home. This includes RM1,500 rent and to pay for three full-time caregivers and for utilities.

He hoped to take in more children. "There aren't many centres offering full-time care to them," he said.

"We want to teach them to be more independent and hope volunteers and corporate companies will come forward to support us."