City: Petaling Jaya
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United Voice (UV) is the first society in Malaysia that is led by persons with learning disabilities which was registered in July 2005.
The members of UV include persons with Down Syndrome, Autism, Attention Deficit Disorder, Global Developmental Delay and other specific learning disabilities.
Since UV became a registered society, it has grown rapidly. More parents are beginning to realize the need to expose their children with learning disabilities to the self-advocacy movement activities so that they learn to be more independent and develop skills to voice up for themselves.
To provide a meeting place for persons with learning disabilities where they help and support each other to learn more about their rights and become more responsible in the community. To develop leadership, independent skills and confidence among members so that they can speak for themselves and make their own decision. To speak and act on behalf of other persons with learning disabilities. To provide training on Self-advocacy for persons with learning disabilities all over Malaysia. To make the community more aware of the rights, needs and abilities of persons with learning disabilities. To create employment for members. To provide an example to the community of a quality service run by persons with learning disabilities.
United Voice (UV) created an Employment Project for UV members to provide employment for unemployed members. Most of these employees have moderate and severe learning disabilities. The project began in 2003 with only 8 employees.
This income-generating project has yielded an increasing income over the years. The increased in income has enabled UV to employ more members. Currently, we have 26 members with learning disabilities working in this project. The employees of this project are paid a monthly allowance, SOCSO, EPF and an annual bonus. All of them are also getting a monthly allowance of RM300 from the Welfare Department because they are employed.
We have a Card & Craft Studio, Bakery and Art Gallery. The products of this project are showcased in our Gift Shop and Art Gallery. The products made by our employees include greetings cards, bookmarks, saori (Japanese weaving) products such as coasters, dolls, key chains, pencil case and shawls. Our signature cookies include Betty’s Shortbread, Choc n Nut cookies and Almond Cookies. We have 8 talented artists who produced artwork that attracted art collectors and clients from the corporate sector.
Through the sales of products we not only created employment for our members but also created awareness in the public on the potential of persons with learning disabilities. We hope eventually more people with learning disabilities will be employed in the open market.This project has proven successful and it has been showing others that self-advocacy movement has given opportunities for persons with learning disabilities to take charge. The success of this project has also motivated other centers for adults with learning disabilities nationwide to learn from UV on how to create income-generating projects.