United Voice. The 1st Society in Malaysia run by Persons with Learning Disabilities.
11 May 1995
A Self-Advocacy Group (SAG) was formed with only 4 members. This Self-Advocacy Group was sponsored by Dignity and Services, an NGO who advocates for persons with learning disabilities.
By early 1996
Now with 8 members, a committee was formed to allow members to take leadership roles that included planning , chairing meetings and taking down minutes, as well as, cultivate organisational skills through simple tea parties.
Renamed United Voice, to reflect the importance of uniting the voice of persons with learning disabilities. Membership grew to 10 members.
July & Nov 2002
In July, along with 25 members, we moved to UV Clubhouse in Shah Alam, a rent-free terrace house given by a kind couple. Here, UV started becoming more independent from Dignity & Services. In November, an Employment Project was set up with 7 UV members to generate income.
UV together with Dignity & Services co-organised a 3-day workshop on Self- Advocacy with 15 self-advocates representing Kuala Lumpur, Selangor, Penang, Melaka and Sabah. One of the Action Plan was for each delegate to return to their own community to start their own self-advocacy group. This resulted in the formation of Dragon Club sponsored by Pusat Kanak-kanak Istimewa Kalang, Selangor and Friendship Club sponsored by Malaysian CARE, Kuala Lumpur.
Nov 30 – 4 Dec 2004
United Voice together with Friendship Club and Dragon Club organised the 1st National Self-Advocacy Conference with 120 participants from 8 states. Participants learned about their Rights and Responsibilities, how to voice up for themselves, discussed about employment opportunities and how to run a self-advocacy group as well as what it means to be a leader. This created more awareness and involvement of self- advocacy amongst members.
2005 – A significant year
UV moved to a shop-lot in Section 17, rent-free for 3 years, thanks to the generousity of a kind couple. United Voice gave a talk in Asia Community Service in Penang, which resulted in the formation of Mutiara Voice Club, another self-advocacy group. The UV Employment Project also expanded and employed 18 members.
FINALLY, A SOCIETY OF OUR OWN!
On 12th July, 2005, United Voice was registered with the Registrar of Societies and became the 1st ever Society in Malaysia, to be run by Persons with Learning Disabilities.
“Nothing about us, without us, please”