Creating child-friendly haven at relief centres


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KUALA LUMPUR: The floods have dealt a devastating blow to families, including children losing all their toys and books, which would adversely affect their mental health and well-being in the long term.

Play Unlimited co-founder Datin P.H. Wong, in partnership with Da Men Mall in USJ 1, Subang Jaya, aims to soften the blow by creating a safe child-friendly place in flood relief centres, and providing children with toys and books.

“The toys are not purchased but donated. For example, toy manufacturer Emco delivered 1,600kg of toys that were practically new as they had been returned due to being slightly damaged. These toys would have ended up in a landfill. Instead, we gave them to the children at relief centres to keep them occupied,” said Wong, who believes in reusing toys instead of buying new ones.

“Sometimes, children are overlooked during floods and other disasters as parents and caregivers struggle with their own losses, and are caught up with salvaging their damaged belongings,” said Wong, who is also a child activist.

“We have packed five different types of boxes.

“The Hygiene and Safety Box contains first aid kits, sanitary pads, toothpaste and sanitisers; the Infant and Toddler Box is filled with toys for young children; the Games Box is for older children; the Literacy Box contains books for children; and the Stationery Box.”

Wong is working with National Disaster Management Agency and the Social Welfare Department to deliver these boxes and getting volunteers to clean and sanitise the toys and books before packing them for delivery.

She said childcare centres and colleges in various states have offered to help collect and deliver the boxes.

Wong is also in partnership with Malaysia’s International Search and Rescue (Misar), a non-governemental organisation with 27 years’ experience.

Misar founder and chairman K. Balasupramaniam said it was important to keep the children occupied while they are at the centres.


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