Inner Wheel Club Taiping gears up for triple celebration, committed to serving the community

Some are busy with work. Some care for their aged parents while others are kept preoccupied with their grandchildren.

But it has not stopped 24 women, aged between 40 and 76, from doing their part for the community.

The Inner Wheel Club Taiping, a service club in Taiping, has been carrying out initiatives to help locals in Malaysia’s iconic town in the northern state of Perak, over the past seven decades.

Its members are now gearing up for an epic celebration, come Jan 20 – to celebrate the club’s 70th anniversary, the main body Inner Wheel Club’s 100th anniversary, and Taiping’s 150th anniversary.

The date also marks the 150th anniversary of the Pangkor Treaty between Raja Abdullah Muhammad Shah of Perak, and Sir Andrew Clarke, representing the British Government. It marked the beginning of the Residency system in Malaya.

The Jan 20 event, which will be held at Sekolah Semangat Maju in Taiping, aims to promote the understanding, acceptance, and inclusion among the able-bodied and those who are differently-abled. The club has been working with intellectually disabled students since the school opened its doors in 1991.

Beyond the celebrations, Inner Wheel Club Taiping has also its set of challenges.

“Getting members is an uphill battle. We’re in Taiping,” said Inner Wheel Club Taiping secretary, Rathy Mahendran.

“It’s different in the Klang Valley as you can get the younger generation, mainly due to the migration from rural to urban areas. But it’s not the same in smaller towns up north, like in Taiping, and even Ipoh.

“As such, we strive to maintain and strengthen the relationship among our existing members while serving the community through our small projects.”

The Inner Wheel movement started in 1924 and has grown into one of the largest organisation of women in the world.

While Rathy downplayed the service club’s small projects in Taiping, the commitment shown by the 24 members has helped the community in many ways. At the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, the club’s members went around helping those from the lower-income groups.

It also organises trips for children from the lower income group families, including organising a trip to the Taiping Zoo earlier this year.

“We also work closely with other non-governmental organisations, especially Persatuan Wanita Ikhlas Taiping. There are projects by the association that offer opportunities to those from the lower income bracket to upskill… we help out where we can.

“It’s never easy, as some of our members have aged parents to care for. Some are professionals who are still committed to their work, and we have others who are caring for their grandchildren. But we all make time to try and help as many people as possible.

“At the end of the day, members must be happy with one another. Only then we can succeed in achieving our goals,” she added.

Rathy said the club will continue carrying out its activities throughout the year.

The Jan 20 event is among the very many activities lined up in Taiping throughout the year as the town of many firsts gears up to celebrate turning 150 in a big way.

The highlight will be the unveiling of the refurbished Taiping market – the oldest wet market in the country – later in the year.

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