End of December 2013 marked the end of ESDA’s first 15 years in community work. It has been a very tough journey. We faced many obstacles and challenges. I remember when I first came to Taiping at the end of 1998, I was a stranger in this place. We started with very limited resources - no finances at all. Many people thought that ESDA would not survive, maybe only 3 to 5 years. Some people did not have confidence in me because I am disabled. In addition, we moved 7 times in the first 10 years. Many times, I wanted to give up. However, Almighty GOD strengthened and encouraged me to press on. And HIs encouragement has kept me going, not for myself but for the poor, needy, youth and marginalized. In the early years I kept moving around in Taiping to get to know the community – hospitals, government departments and other organizations as well. In the fifth year, we employed our first staff in our work centre for disabled people and we bought our first old and small Honda Civic with auto gear. We thank God for HIS grace and strength has pulled us through. Glory to God in the Highest!!
2014 is the 16th year of ESDA. There is much work to be done and much room for improvement. We hope and pray God will provide a piece of land for our community work.
2014 is a tough year for many Malaysians. Prices of goods are going up. Although salaries are already fixed at a minimum rate of RM 900, is that enough for a household? Some NGOs cannot afford to raise the salaries of their staff. You may say there are thousands of job vacancies waiting for people. Where? In the big cities. How many people can go to big cities? What about single mothers, natives or disabled people? Even the prices of goods in small towns are expensive. What can they eat? I tell people, “Everything goes up, only the rain comes down”. More people are suffering. The statistics of those in poverty is increasing. Crime rate is rising. More work for NGOs as well but with limited funds. People are crying out. Let us remember the poor and needy.
This year, we are going to miss 4 of our faithful workers. Dr. Lim Kean Ghee served in the board for the past 4 years. At the end of last year, 2013, Dr. Lim moved to Seremban for his career. Dr. T. Moses is also moving to Kuala Lumpur for his new career. Dr. Moses was with us in the board for the past 2 years. At the end of December 2013, Pastor Manuval resigned. He had been with us for 7 years full time and a year as volunteer. He assisted me in many Indian community work as well as youth work. He left us to become a full time itinerary preacher and pastor of a Sungai Petani church. Last but not least, Pastor Peter Chit, who worked with us for five years, left ESDA from February 2014 and will be pastoring Taiping Chinese Gospel Hall. He was an active community worker, assisting Chinese speaking needy people. He also liaised with NGOs and government agencies. On behalf of ESDA, we want to thank Dr. Lim, Dr. Moses, Pastor Manuval and Pastor Peter for their contributions in ESDA.
Last but not least, to all our donors, supporters, volunteers and friends who are the pillars of ESDA work, thank you very much. We appreciate each one of you for your trust and continuing support in our community work. We will continue to uphold our principle, “Accountability, Transparency, Responsibility and Team Work towards Impacting the Community and Nation”. May God bless all of you with manifold blessings and best of health in the year 2014 and many years to come.
2013年12月底是太平社区服务协会经历的第一个15年的社区工作。那是一个非常艰难的过程。我们面临了很多障碍和挑战。我记得是在1998年底来到太平。我在这地方是个陌生人。我们是以非常有限度的资源开始的，手头上完全没有资金。很多人认为太平社区服务协会是无法生存的，也许只有3年到5年而已。有些人 不相信我，因为我本身是残疾人。此外，在第一个10年里，我们共搬迁了7次。很多次我想放弃。然而，全能的上帝使得我更坚强和鼓励我继续前进。是的，祂的鼓励使我继续向前走，不是为我自己，而是为了贫困、穷苦、青少年和一群被边缘化的一群。在最初几年，我一直在太平走动，以更了解这个社区，如医院、政府部门以及其他的组织。在第5年，我们聘请了第一个员工在我们中心为残疾人工作。我们也买了第一辆又小又残旧，自动排档的本田思域(Honda Civic). 我们感谢主的恩典和给予我们力量渡过难关。荣耀归于至高的主。
2014年是马来西亚人艰难的一年。物品的价格上涨。虽然最低薪金已定在900令吉，这足够一个家庭开销吗?一些非政府组织无法提高员工的薪金。你说有几千个空缺正等着人们去应征。但是在那里? 在大城市里。有多少人能到大城市?单身母亲、本地人或残疾人又如何呢?即使在小城镇，物品的价格也是很贵的。他们能吃什么? 我告诉大家：每件东西都上涨了，只有雨才会下降。 越来越多的人受苦。统计数字指出穷困人士在增加中，犯罪率也上升了。非政府组织的工作已增加，但资金却有限。人们在怒吼，让我们记得穷人和有需要的人吧。