PBSNS was established to fulfill a need for families with learning disabled children. It was originally set up as the Pusat Berdikari Seremban (PBS) by the Wesley Methodist Church, Seremban. 'Pusat Berdikari' translate from Bahasa Malaysia as 'Centre for Self-Reliance'. 10 years later in 2008 PBS was transformed into PBSNS, a registered society run by Christians of Seremban but servicing the learning disabled of all races and social backgrounds.
2. What is your operating model?
We run a day centre over a 5 days work week from 9.00am - 4.00pm. Our trainees report for 'work' much like in a normal workplace. They clock in and their work are rated to qualify for 'pay' at the end of each month. With their 'payslips' they can then qualify to receive welfare allowances, currently RM300 per month from the State Welfare Department.
Trainees families each donate RM100 monthly to help cover the operating expenses.
3. Who runs the centre?
The centre is run by a team of paid staff (currently 3 fulltime) and volunteers. A management committee oversees the work. It meets every 3 months and handle issues arising.
4. Do the trainees graduate like in schools?
No. Trainees grow at their own pace. Those who learn faster so can leave the centre earlier to find jobs. We expect a trainee to spend 18-24 months with us before we consider seeking outside employment for him/her.
5. What do you do with those who cannot find jobs?
We have a Sheltered Workshop where trainees are paid allowances that qualify them to receive welfare allowances. Those who cannot find jobs outside continue to work in the SW until they do. However we hope more employers will respond
by giving trained people a chance to be employed.
6. Do you offer place for lived-in trainees?
No. We are essentially a skills training centre.
7. Who are your financiers?
We depend on the founding church, donations from the trainees families as well as donations from individuals and corporate sponsors to fund our work. We donít have any government grants but we try to approach foundations to assist with annual grants.
8. What are your plans for the next 3-5 years?
We plan to take in on a gradual basis more trainees up to the maximum 40 limit. We want to improve on our operating system, deliver clear teaching and training methodologies. We also want to create greater public awareness and generate more interest from the community.
9. What are your plans on parental involvements?
We do not see many parents play active roles in the centre. From the onset most parents treat us as care provider for their learning disabled children. We plan to start a parents club to engage them to be more pro-active. Hopefully some of them will
come in to serve as volunteers as one or two have already done so.
10. What do you mean by your tagline, PBSNS - A Life Changing Experience?
We believe that what we do will impact the lives of our trainees. We believe that the learning disabled are handicapped by opportunities rather than by lack of abilities. In PBSNS we try to turn the table by giving these people opportunities to better
themselves. While it may take longer time to see results, we believe we will see many lives changed when their hidden potentials are developed and used. More than the trainees themselves, we believe that the caregivers and parents too may see life transformation in themselves when they see their efforts start bearing fruits in those they help build better lives.
11. What is your hope for the Chedang Cafe?
We are excited over the potential of some trainees teaming up to start a small food service business. The Chedang Cafe will be a place we can help develop them. We will lead them to greet, take order, repeat order, deliver food and drinks ordered, collect monies and return any change and to say thank you when the customers leave.
12. Is there a dream for PBSNS to become?
Learning disability exist in every community and in every town and city. We hope that we can be a model for others to set up similar training centre to help the leaning disabled live competitively so that their parents can be at peace with their