(Left) Heart TreAsureS "angel" Ah Meng and his father Mr. Siak Khoon Sia
By the time he started kindergarden, he was unable to keep up with the other children... his behavior was that of a toddler. At the age of 6 years old, we had to take him to a special school as he was no longer accepted in a regular school. Documents from doctors only stated that he was a slow learner. Eventually, rejected from school after school, Ah Meng stopped going altogether and we kept him at home until the age of 18 years."When Ah Meng, my son was a baby, nothing was wrong with him mentally or physically. He was a normal and healthy child. When he was 8 months old, he was taken by a high fever. The doctor said all was well, just some medicine to reduce the fever... but his fever kept recurring and his body started getting cramps. These cramps eventually affected his brain.
For 8 years, we sent him to CBR at Jalan Ong Tiang Swee where he did repetitive jobs like simple packing for companies, but he did not learn any specific skills.
In 2009 Heart Treasures Sdn. Bhd. was looking for "angels"... as it was announced. Ah Meng was selected. Today, he is a totally new person. He is able to handle a lot of activities by himself. I am so grateful to Ms. Kiew and Ms Bong". - Mr. Siak Khoon Sia
Director Bong Pei Fong and founder Kiew Boon Siew are "caretakers" of the "angels".
Founded four years ago in 2010, Heart Treasures Sdn Bnd was started by Kiew Boon Siew who felt the compelling need to “create a difference out of difference for a difference” focusing on under-privileged communities. Like Ah Meng who has delayed development and Eric who was born with Down Syndrome, children with various kinds of physical disabilities as well as orphans and single mothers (and mothers of these special needs children suffering from depression) were the reason for the Ecological Program designed by Heart Treasures. The program focuses on developing motor skills, utilizes art as a means for children and parents to engage in this form of occupational therapy apart from equipping them for future career opportunities.
(Right) Heart TreAsureS "angel" Eric and his mother Mrs. Ling
"We do not seek pity, we ask forintegrity and respect to be put back into their lives and also recognition as artisans for the work they can accomplish". Founder Kiew Boon Siew.
"Not just a pastime activity, we hope to give them career opportunities for their future"
"Many come without the ability to speak or participate in any activity. After one-to-one monitoring, some taking a few years, with Ms Bong and myself, they are today able to communicate playfully while making beads, earrings, neck-laces, bags, notebooks and more from recycled material. They receive a salary every month like true artisans".
This Ecological Program is to help youths with autism, slow learners, cerebral palsy, deaf and mute, physically disability, orphan and single mothers suffering from depression.
After having gone through a life-threatening illness, Kiew's outlook in life made a 360o turnaround. Determined to be of "help to those in need", Kiew was inspired by a group of deaf and mute artisans in Thailand. Her doubts and lack of experience in the field did not deter her. Ms Bong, a friend bravely supported her idea and consequently joined her. Today, there are 6 full-time youths and 2 single mothers at Heart Treasures.
Just recently, Heart Treasures was given the "Amplify Award" by Malaysia Global Innovation & Creative Centre (MaGIC). 25 out of 407 social enterprises were selected from 14 states in Malaysia for this "MaGIC accelerate program". At present, Kiew Boon Siew is searching for a new venue for a larger workshop and a "living museum" to showcase their "angel" stories and handicrafts.
Paper twirl earrings
Handsewn felt keyrings
Packaging made from plastic bottles
Paper twirling and threading are some of the skills they learn.
In it together, the "angel dream team".
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