Datin Suliana’s Story
Datin Suliana Shamsuddin Alias is a qualified chemist with a degree in physiology and biological chemistry from the University of Salford, Manchester. She was a chemist before moving into human resource and quality management. After 13 years with ICI Paints, she went into management consulting in Malaysia and Indonesia.
Her true joy comes from helping people. Suliana’s gentle, nurturing ways were cultivated from young through her parents, Dato Haji Alias Shamsuddin and Datin Hajjah Sofiah, who founded Sri Inai, one of Malaysia’s earliest private schools.
She is fiercely involved in YOKUK – A Foundation for the Disabled and Underprivileged, founded in 1999. Suliana has been running the foundation as Chairperson and Executive Director since 2000.
Under her leadership, YOKUK’s centre was purpose-built in 2000. She developed her own team to carry out the Foundation’s work. Their concept is community-based rehabilitation, to allow people with disabilities to have an improved quality of life whilst involving the community.
She departs from trying to institutionalise people with disabilities in a home. She believes that it is better for them to be cared for by their own families and she provides the support.
Besides healthcare, YOKUK aids the disabled by providing vocational training for school leavers at age 18, where they learn practical skills like washing cars, laundry and gardening to enable them to find basic jobs. For all Suliana’s work over the past years, there is still much that needs to be accomplished.
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