An In-Depth Look at the Community Adoption Program by Subang Jaya Centre
Throughout the past several years, the Subang Jaya Sai Centre had come across pockets of communities where there are hard-core poor and where the residents are living in poverty. Generally these are also the areas where there are high incidents of social problems, illiteracy and a high crime rate. The Seva Wing of the Subang Jaya Sai Centre has identified such needy families, and have been offering various kinds of assistance to them as part of our seva.
In 2009, as part of the Sai Care program, it was decided to intensify this seva activity through a structured Family Adoption Program. Among the strategies to intensify the program were:
- focus on families in and around Batu Ampat, the CAP area adopted by our Centre
- involve as many of the devotees of the Centre as possible
- assist the devotees by preparing guidelines
Some of the objectives of the program:
- To provide relief and help eradicate hardcore poverty.
- To assist in the economic and social upliftment of the residents.
- To provide education support for the youth & children.
- To promote family unity – i.e. greater bonding and inter-action between parents and children (teenagers and young adults).
- To promote healthy and wholesome activities for the youth.
- Our strategy should be to give the residents what they need so that they would want what we want to give them.
- Our attempt was to see if we could bring to the residents, especially the youth, a value oriented lifestyle so that they become useful to their families and the community.
- Through the participation of devotees in this project, love and care for the less fortunate can be nurtured.
A Database of needy families was created from available records. A File was created for each family, with all relevant information concerning the family, records of assistance given, observations and other relevant matters.
The Centre devotees were grouped into 12 groups, each with a leader. Each group was assigned 1 or 2 needy families.
Initial assessment was carried out through visits by the assigned devotees to the houses concerned. The assessment was carried out using set criteria for evaluation –
- whether there are breadwinners capable of supporting the families,
- net monthly shortfall for the families,
- medical problems,
- school going children,
- other factors,
- help received from other organizations, Govt etc.
Where the initial assessment indicated that the family is really deserving, the assigned devotees would then decide the provisions etc to be provided, purchase and deliver the items and record the same. All expenses were reimbursable by the Centre, although some of the devotees sponsored the costs incurred.
The assigned devotees would be reminded to visit the families from time to time, at least once a month. During the visits, the devotees observed and assessed the needs of the family, including
- legal etc
The children in the family were urged to attend the EHV Classes.
They were also to explore ways to enable the family members to support themselves in whole or in part, so that if possible, eventually they will not need our support.
Among options explored:
- Home base or cottage business – break fast or evening kuih selling
- Skill training – tailoring, baking, flower
- Financial assistance – budget planning income vs expenses
The initial timeframe for assistance can be 6 months to 2 years , but can be reviewed and stopped earlier if the family does not require assistance any more, or can be extended if necessary.
A total of 25 – 30 families were assisted over the period 2009 up to 2011. As of now, there are about 20 families who continue to receive assistance. Some have been dropped from the program after their condition improved. Some have been dropped as they were found not to meet the criteria anymore. New families which were identified were then added to replaced the dropped families.