Agathians Shelter, is a legally registered welfare home governed by Pertubuhan Kebajikan Agathians, Malaysia (registration number 0661-04-7). It currently operates at No.22 & 24 , Jalan Kelah 8/6, Seksyen 8, 46050, Petaling Jaya, Selangor. Agathians shelter has also obtained tax exempt status from the Inland Revenue Board, Malaysia. Reference number lhdn.01/35/42/52/179-6.5695 gazette 7230 (11th April 2005).
It houses 42 boys who are either orphans, abandoned, from single parent family or from broken family and are between the ages of 4 and 18 years old. The home aims at providing them a new start in their lives, a life of childhood, a normal life any child would or should have but they didn’t due to the circumstances they were in.
The society was initiated by a group of people ‘AGATHIANS’ in an attempt to rescue a number of children from an illegal orphanage from being turned out to the streets, upon closure due to the person running the “home” physically, emotionally and mentally abusing the children. Children were not sent to school, as this man, was using them to generate income. Please note that child labour is not allowed in Malaysia and it is compulsory for every kid to have education up to Form Five. The abuse reached an intolerable level that the neighbour took some of the children to the police station to make a report. The situation was very bad as two kids had a broken arm and a broken leg respectively. The visit from our law enforcers revealed that the home was illegal. The house was sealed and the person in charge of the previous home absconded at that time. The Agathians, after talking with the welfare department about the plight of these children, started the registration works with the registrar of societies in August 2003. The home itself was set up in two weeks to provide shelter for these children. The main aim was to provide the basic needs – accommodation, food and clothing.
Other than the basic needs, Agathians Shelter ensures these children are sent to school. The children are given tutoring in house to catch up on missed years of schooling. For the elder children who have missed many years of schooling, we focus on teaching them the English and Bahasa Malaysia languages and Mathematics. We feel that these three are essentials for basic knowledge. Besides the basics, we groom, discipline, and conduct character building sessions for these children. Some of these children were not even taught to bathe or brush teeth properly. The children are taught about the importance of time, responsibility, cleanliness and morale such as honesty and respect. Besides these, the child is also supervised on cleanliness and proper behaviour such as no usage of foul language and violent behaviour which they pick up from their previous environment.
The children’s mental health is also not excluded. There are “treated” for past traumatic experience, counselled through their pain, anger and hurt. They are taught about calmness and to be in peace with themselves and the surroundings. The home provides medical attention, regular health check-ups and de-worming, supplements are given to the children to overcome their malnutrition. However, we are yet have a panel doctor for the Home. For the past four years, the committee and volunteers have been working towards stabilizing the running of the home, ensuring the basic needs and education of the children are al proper. Now, close to five years old, Agathians Shelter has begun to reach out to the public, making itself known. In order to enrich these children’s lives, we need more resources. Therefore, we decided that there is a dire need to have a permanent house to root the organisation. There are programs lined out that needs permanent placement e.g. Computer rooms to expose children to multimedia, tools room to teach carpentry, electronics and gardening to children. We realised that with publicity, the children can also be involved in more national and corporate organised events. The aim of teaching these skills based training is to guide children to positive use of mind and energy. Also to kindle their talents and interest towards something that would be a future income source.