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Coming Full Circle

Special Needs Group

Coming Full Circle

Finance Director, Leong Lai Cheng, shares how her experience with TOUCH inspired her to join the organisation.

As the Finance Director of TOUCH, Leong Lai Cheng is glad to be helping others in need through her hand in various TOUCH events and activities.

However, like the people whose lives she is enriching at TOUCH today, Lai Cheng was once faced with a series of challenges in her personal life, and hopes that her service would be a passing on of the same support she received during the trying times in her life.

In 1993, Lai Cheng’s second child, Mei Yee was born and diagnosed with Down Syndrome. Lai Cheng and her husband spent time readjusting their lives and careers to provide the best support for their daughter.

“Mei Yee took longer to learn even simple actions or skills. When she was just three years old, she underwent a major spinal surgery after a bad fall and had to re-learn the things she had previously mastered. My heart sank”, said Lai Cheng.

Looking for a suitable kindergarten which provided an integrated programme for Mei Yee also proved to be a huge challenge, and Lai Cheng grew increasingly disheartened when she was turned down time and again.
Thankfully, Lai Cheng discovered TOUCH Child Care (TCC) through a group of parents who also had children with special needs.

“After Mei Yee’s fall, we had to carry her until she was 4 or 5 years old and were also concerned that she would be paralysed. However, with a suitable learning environment and caring TCC teachers, Mei Yee eventually recovered. I couldn’t feel more grateful!”

When Mei Yee was older, Lai Cheng decided to return to work to better support her husband. She also started thinking about the next step for Mei Yee and enrolled her into TOUCH Centre for Independent Learning (TCIL), in hopes that she would learn to be independent and care for herself.

Today, 21-year-old Mei Yee enjoys attending TCIL and is equipped with various job skills such as housekeeping, baking, and arts and craft. Witnessing her progress has helped ease Lai Cheng’s mind.

Looking back, Lai Cheng realised how fortunate she and her family had been and decided that it was time to give back to the community. In April 2013, Lai Cheng joined TOUCH and has dedicated her time to improving the lives of others. She is also a regular volunteer at TOUCH Family Services.

“I am now ‘three-in-one’ in the TOUCH family— Staff, client, as well as volunteer. Everything has come full circle.”