Monday, 22 July 2013

Ray of Hope Ipoh

The Ray of Hope is a non profit, non religious multi racial centre set up by St Peter's Church and St Augustine's Church in Ipoh, which would be best described as a Christian Social Enterprise.

The mission of Ray of Hope is to provide people with learning difficulties creative and meaningful educational programmes that will enable them to reach their full potential.

To provide vocational training and sheltered employment for young adults with learning difficulties.

To increase public awareness on people with special needs and encourage greater community support.  

The Ray of Hope is a truly inspirational place to visit, and the driving force behind it is Aunty Mary, a truly inspiring lady who has given her time free to seeing Ray of Hope built up, and whose love and concern for the students who attend Ray of Hope is clear to see.  

Ray of Hope provides a range of programmes:

Early Intervention (age 6 months to 6 years)
This programme serves to promote cognitive development and prepare special children for mainstream and special education.

Supplementary (age 7 to 12 years)
A specialised and holistic educational programme designed to maximise learning.  Innovative lessons and fun filled activities are conducted to stimulate greater interest in learning.

Pre Sheltered Workshop Training (age 13 to 18 years)
Advanced living skills and vocational training to equip special needs youths for greater community social interaction, self reiance and gainful employment.

Bakery Training (age 18 and above)  
Young adults receive practical hands on training to enable them to produce various types of marketable cookies and cakes

Sheltered Workshop Cafe (age 18 and above)
Provides sheltered employment and vocational training to empower young adults with learning difficulties.  They also aim to equip them with relevant working skills in preparation for open employment.

Aunty Mary's great pride and joy is the Cafe that Ray of Hope runs. The fun is of very high quality, and the Ray of Hope Cafe recently made it into a book celebrating Ipoh's best eating establishments. Standards are exceptionally high, and they have one awards for being the cleanest restaurant in Ipoh, something Aunty Mary is justifiably proud of.

The students at Ray of Hope help prepare some of the food that is sold in the cafe (alongside a professional chef), and they also help wait on the customers.  The aim of Ray of Hope is to give these young men and women the skills that will enable them to find gainful employment else where once they graduate from Ray of Hope.

Amongst other activites run at Ray of Hope includes functional literacy and numeracy, computer lessons, story telling, art and craft, music and singing, community mobility, bakery skills, personal hygiene, vocational training, money concepts, role play and drama, dance, home management and living skills, hospitality and catering, personal safety and job placement.

The facilities in Ray of Hope are really good, and upstairs there is a large meeting room which on Sunday is used as worship area for a church - the room was specially designed with this in mind, and was part of the vision to plant a new church in this part of the town.

But for me the most inspiring thing about Ray of Hope is Aunty Mary, who is the real driving force behind this amazing church initiative. Her faith in God is apparent for all to see, and she makes no apologies for the Christian vision that lies behind this project. 

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