Message from Founding Director

15 Years’ Journey in Community Work

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.

Stephen Chow