In Kuala Lumpur recently, In-House Community’s Patrick Dransfield spoke with Suliana Shamsuddin Alias, the chairperson and executive director of the charity Yayasan Orang Kurang Upaya Kelantan — the Foundation for the Disabled (Yokuk).
AMC: What kind of work does the Yokuk Foundation do?
Suliana Shamsuddin Alias: Yokuk was established 18 years ago. Since then, we have made satisfying progress to enhance the quality of life for more than 4,500 registered clients throughout the state of Kelantan, Malaysia. Our clients are mainly children and adults suffering from various forms of disabilities from Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, physical handicaps or from other forms of disabilities to stroke, hydrocephalus, blindness, deafness, dumbness and many other types of disabilities. Further to that, most of these clients come from the underprivileged part of the society, with monthly incomes of less than US$250 for many of the families.
Currently, Yokuk provides rehabilitation services in terms of therapy, palliative care and welfare and educational services free of charge, relying very much on public support, individuals and corporate sponsors.
Yokuk has a good relationship with government bodies — such as hospitals (especially Hospital University Sains Malaysia), welfare departments, the health department, labour department and the education department — in carrying out its work to improve the quality of lives of the disabled in Kelantan.
Yokuk provides all its services free of charge as a one-stop centre for the disabled in Kelantan. Yokuk relies heavily on fund-raising activities — both from the public and corporate bodies — and currently needs around US$180,000 a year to sustain the work it does.
Hence, Yokuk appreciates any financial assistance to allow it to continue its work throughout Kelantan. Tax-exempt receipts can be issued for any donations made to Yokuk.
AMC: You assumed your role as chairman 18 years ago. How has the foundation grown in that time?
SSA: We have added more services as mentioned earlier, because initially we were focused on providing basic therapy and minimal welfare services. The number of clients registered has increased significantly, as well as the number staff. We also have a more established network to tap for funding in order to sustain the services we provide.
AMC: How has your professional experience with ICI Paints and also Decisions Processes International helped you in your new role?
SSA: It has helped significantly in establishing monitoring systems, management guidelines and establishing qualitative objectives to ensure that productivity is optimised and donors satisfied that their contributions reach those who need it.
AMC: What is the vision for Yokuk for the next three years and how can the In-House Community help achieve that vision?
SSA: We plan to focus more on our outreach programmes, reaching out to as many as we can in the far-reaching communities of Kelantan. Palliative care is increasing in need as more clients have more life-limiting illnesses that need help.
Providing such services is not easy and requires significant funding. Hence the opportunity to highlight our work to as many corporates as well as the public, not only in Malaysia but throughout Asia, through the In-House Community is greatly appreciated.
Yokuk is the designated charity for the 2018 In-House Community Awards and we will be raising money for the charity during the celebration on May 5th through donations and also through the ‘live’ auction of a deluxe holiday of three nights for two at the Tanjong Jara Resort, Malaysia, generously donated by the YTL Corporation.
For more on the Awards, click here …
Suliana Shamsuddin Alias became chairperson and executive director of Yokuk in 2000.
Before her charitable career, she had worked with ICI Paints for more than a decade, first as a development chemist and later at ICI’s headquarters as the company’s first female personnel manager. She rose to become a member of the management committee for the manufacturing concern and was made manager of quality and customer focus, where she implemented continuous process improvement throughout the organisation.
Having gained experience in the field of quality improvement, she became a partner and consultant at Decisions Processes International for various organisations in Malaysia and Indonesia for quality management.