By OTK Info Unit
Women, Family and Community Development Deputy Minister Senator Heng Seai Kie (Centre) and Pandan MP Dato' Sri Ong Tee Keat with the Sari One Malaysia participants who each received a Janome Multi-purpose sewing machine from Heng and a certificate of participation from Ong - OTK Info Unit pix by Fan Jia Wei
Women, Family and Community Development Deputy Minister Senator
Heng Seai Kie said the programmes would be communal development-based, aimed at helping the needy to acquire skills for income-generation.
“It is a shift in community development and poverty eradication strategy. Instead of the traditional way of just giving out monetary aid, we are now training the needy to become self-reliant.
“We hope to launch the programmes, covering all races, nationwide in January,” she said at the presentation of Janome multi-purpose sewing machines to 16 single-mothers who completed a five-day intensive course on creative sewing under the ministry’s Sari One Malaysia Programme.
The presentation was held in Pandan Indah’s Menara MPAJ this morning.
She said Sari was a maiden effort aimed at helping Indian single-mothers to become self-reliant by teaching them how to sew soft toys, recyclable bags and many other custom-ordered door gifts for sale.
“Next year, we will have a range of similar communal development programmes for the Malay and Chinese communities, and also multi-racial-suited courses,” she added.
Heng said Pandan MP Dato’ Sri Ong Tee Keat was the first MP to approach the ministry to organise Sari for Pandan and Ampang single-mothers who wanted to become financially independent for their family.
“The Sari participants were also each given a RM150 allowance and provided meals to undergo the five-day course conducted for free,” she said.
Heng said the single-mothers received a Janome multi-purpose sewing machine costing about RM2,900 each to enable them to use their newly acquired skills for income-generating activities.
“Their progress would be monitored for a year by professional trainers engaged by the ministry to teach the single-mothers. They will also provide consultation and advice on marketing and networking,” she added.
Heng urged non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and the private sector that had practical ideas on community development to submit their proposals or working papers to the ministry.
“We will then evaluate the proposals and decide whether to adopt them for our programmes,” she added.
She said the ministry had launched more than 1,000 poverty-eradication programmes since 2004 and “we are now focusing on synergising our efforts and initiatives with NGOs and the private sector”.
Heng said the ministry’s efforts would only be more effective with a positive change in the mindset of individuals.
“They must be willing to embrace the right attitude of seeking to be independent financially, not just waiting for handouts.
“They must be aware of progress, the sensitivities to make change to seize opportunities and the readiness to be fully committed to the welfare and needs of the family institution,” she said.
“We are now fully aware and wary of the need for long-term solutions and programmes in poverty eradication. Poverty exists all over the world and therefore this is not a race issue.
“Community development programmes are therefore our priority for the future of 1Malaysia,” she added.