Honouring remarkable Ibu Kiwanis

by Cordelia Lee

Mothers are rarely recognised for awards or honours. So, that makes Anugerah Ibu Kiwanis (AIK) stand out among the rest for appreciating mothers who have gone to extraordinary lengths for the wellbeing of their children. 

This award honours remarkable mothers who, via their compassion, drive, advocacy, and empowerment, had an impact on society as well as their children with special needs. 

Each of them improves the community and the lives of their children by their presence, deeds, and selflessness.

After a 10-year break, Kiwanis Malaysia decided to bring AIK back in 2024. AIK was launched in 2001 by the Taman Tun Dr. Ismail Kiwanis Club, which was led by Dato Fatimah Saad, who was the organising chairperson for AIK 2024.

The Sultan of Selangor, HRH Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah ibni Sultan Salahuddin Abdul Aziz Shah, and HRH Tengku Permaisuri Hajah Norashikin, were the guests of honour for AIK 2024 in Shah Alam on April 20, 2024.

At the start of the ceremony, the AIK recipients exuded much strength and confidence, with some even displaying much humour, cheerfulness, and friendliness that did not reveal what they had gone through until their arduous experiences were disclosed — journeys that involved intense mental, emotional and physical challenges in managing the initial struggles and challenges of their special needs children, . 

Let us salute and celebrate these mothers:-

1) Hanizan Hussin, Chairman of Pertubuhan Permulihan Dalam Komuniti Sindrom Down ( PPDKSD) Putrajaya. She has taken remarkable care of her daughter, who has Down syndrome and faces several health challenges. She ensured that her child received the best medical care available by treatment and therapy along with skill-building exercises.

2) Professor Dr. Loke Siew Phaik of Postgraduate Studies, Faculty of Business and Management, Quest International University. With her grit and determination, she ensure her autistic son have a better future. She is actively involved in making a difference in communities of children with special needs and their families. 

3) *Chia Gek Hong* – a health product entrepreneur who inspired her son Barnabas, who has Down syndrome, to be self-sufficient and lead a fulfiling life in the arts and music. She assisted Barnabas to set up Barnabas Blessing Store, living by the motto: Dare to think, do it with heart. Dream it! Do it!

4) Wan Noriah Binti Wan Ramli – Founder of Down Syndrome Association of Kelantan. Ahli Majlis Perundingan Wanita Negeri Kelantan ( MPW)

She has made a significant impact on communities by promoting inclusiveness, creating a supportive environment for people with Down syndrome, and helping those with special needs.

5) Tan Ken Moi, a single mother who extraordinarily took care of her three children with special needs, from multiple disabilities to learning difficulties. While taking care of her family, she spare her time to contribute her heart and efforts in various community activities in Muar.

6) Sia Siew Chin – Chairman of Malaysia Independent Living Association for Disabled ( MILAD), Author of “All is Good” children picture book. She made sure her two children, who have special needs due to health issues and learning disorders, were taken care of adequately, despite her physical restrictions as a wheelchair user. Her tenacity and persistence demonstrate her fortitude and strength in handling adversity. 

7) Zaharah Binti Ali – Supervisor of Pusat Pemulihan Dalam Komuniti Taman Sri Gombak. Her fighting spirit and exceptional care to her Down Syndrome son who faced multiple challenges since he was born. He had heart surgery. She also actively give support to children with significant medical issues. 

8) Cordelia Lee Suet Fun – committee member of Persatuan Pelari Anak Luar Biasa/Little Fighter Runners, a motivational speaker and a singer-songwriter. She relied on Faith, Hope and Love to persevere through her baby’s health challenges with Alagille. Her son got a liver transplant at the age of one year and nine months due to liver failure, and he suffers from a heart disease known as pulmonary stenosis. She used humour, creativity, music, and positive affirmations to help her child grow into resilience and self-belief. Since 2019, the mother and son have assisted in the distribution of over 500 dolls to hospital wards. The dynamic pair wants to offer the children in hospital wards encouragement, support, and companionship.

These extraordinary women want to serve as bright examples for other mothers who may doubt their ability to care for their children with special needs. If we can do it, so they can.