A Long Search for Belonging
Dr Ng Oi Leng is the Executive Director & Education Director of ElShaddai Centre, a registered NGO which is an implementing partner of UNHCR.
Established in 2008, ElShaddai Centre strives to serve the displaced refugees, stateless people, asylum seekers and even the irregular migrant communities. In a simple phrase, a largely Malaysian staffed organization reaching out to the non-Malaysians within the country Malaysia.
Armed with a clear vision to inculcate this group of people with honour and dignity, a holistic health and hope for a better future, ElShaddai Centre’s 110 team of staff and volunteers went about to serve diligently. The areas of needs include education (literally and skill-based training), giving practical assistance in physical and emotional support, as well as to watch out and rescue the vulnerable victims and bring them into safe havens.
The ElShaddai Centre’s team spend time and work alongside with these people over consistent and committed periods of time. Empathy and dedication are the essence to establishing the trust from these people who are mostly traumatized and in a state of loss and helplessness.
Moreover, most of these displaced people have been perceived by local Malaysians to be “threatening” as “they can bring unknown diseases from whichever country they came from”.
Even though their predicament does not bode well for them and they had to flee from their homeland, deep down in their hearts, many of them still long to return to their country. There are some who are awaiting another advance country to receive them to settle down in a new country, and then sadly, there is also a group of them who have no hope of returning to their country of origin nor to go to another country for resettlement.
ElShaddai Centre offers solace during this most uncomfortable time and strive to empower them with the knowledge of survival as well as to foster a sense of belonging in this transient state. A spirit of hope is vital for survival and feeling loved by a circle of friends who offer both physical and mental comfort are important stabilizing factors for the long term.
The ElShaddai Centre team wants to induce and inspire the sense of Belonging to them, even though they may be Displaced out of their comfort zone without notice, overnight.