ABOUT POSITIVE LIVING COMMUNITY
WE MUST GO ON
In the quiet heritage town of Batu Arang, just 40 km outside of Kuala Lumpur, a group of indigent people with HIV/AIDS have been able to live and die peacefully, for over 20 years. Denied entry into government run welfare homes or private nursing homes which do not admit cases with infectious diseases, Batu Arang provides the only chance to live a dignified life.The spirit of civic service is very strong here, caregivers are also HIV positive and willingly serve residents with utmost dedication and contend with minimal wage.
At 70, Alex Arokiam, the founder still journeys with residents daily. At least one thousand men have come and gone, lived and died under Alex's roof in the past 20 years. A pioneer in Malaysia when it comes to providing shelter and care to people living with HIV/AIDS, Alex co-founded two projects - Welcome Community Home, and subsequently, Positive Living Community. Welcome Community Home closed down in 2019. Currently, Positive Living Community (PLC), and CASP (Community AIDS Services Penang) are the last two surviving homes in the whole country that continues to provide palliative and hospice care for people living with HIV/AIDS.
On an almost weekly basis Positive Living Community receives phone calls from government hospitals wanting to discharge patients who have no where else to go. The only 'go to' for hospitals in the Southern Region Positive Living Community works with institutions such as Sungai Buloh Hospital, Selayang Hospital, Tengku Ampuan Rahimah Hospital, University Hospital and Kuala Lumpur General Hospital. Positive Living Community boasts of a strong working relationship with these hospitals for the past 20 years. Undoubtedly, the organisation has been an important support system to government hospitals, enabling public wards to clear up space, thus indirectly helping to lower costs of operations for these hospitals. Irregardless, the survival of Positive Living Community is undeniably under threat. Nationwide, allocations from the government for HIV/AIDS shelter homes have diminished and there is no secure source of funding available for organisations like Positive Living Community and CASP. The situation is doubly challenging when Positive Living Community members (who are paralysed, blind, bedridden, wheelchair bound, on hospice or palliative care) are not eligible to apply for welfare aid due to the fact that they live in a 'shelter home', even though the home is NOT funded by the welfare department.
Organisations like PLC and CASP, despite having an utter lack of human resources, are forced to solicit donations to survival. Living from hand to mouth is the norm, but it cannot go on indefinitely. The most promising long term solution for Positive Living Community is to build long term sustainability. Currently, Positive Living Community is in the midst of restructuring its organisation and exploring various models of Social Enterprises. If you are keen to help Positive Living Community on this route, kindly contact our Managing Director, Sabina Arokiam at