Title: The Home managers of SHELTER
Date: 15-Jun-2014

Shelter 1 Manager – Joseph

Shelter 1 houses children who are abused, neglected or abandoned and their ages range from 4 – 12.

Joseph is currently staying in Puchong Jaya and is married with two children. Joseph’s career background is indeed an established one. Joseph was a pastor in a church for 7 years, a social worker with drug addicts and prisoners for 7 years, manager in a Children’s Home for 8 years and the last 2 years he has been with Shelter. Throughout all those years, he has acquired a lot of experience, wisdom and know-how in dealing with adults, children as well as being part of the management.

When Joseph first entered Shelter, he started off as Shelter 3’s manager, which was Home for teenage boys. His way of dealing with children is a good balance between firmness and gentleness and although the boys at Shelter 3 took a while to adjust to his way of managing the Home, after some time, they really grew to like him.

He was later moved to Shelter 1 as the previous manager left and the management felt that Joseph was needed there more as Shelter 1 is the busiest Home among the 3 Homes. It was difficult for the boys in Shelter 3 as Joseph built a bond but they have all eventually learnt to accept it and move on with their new home manager, William.

As for Joseph, it didn’t take him long to adjust to the new environment. Even though it is very different to bring up children as compared to teenagers, Joseph’s previous experiences at other Homes and NGOs have helped him shift into high gear very quickly. When there is a discipline problem, Joseph still maintains the same view but of course he is gentler with the children. The children have never hated or disliked him for his disciplinary actions because they understand that he does it out of love. Joseph also takes the children out for a ride or takes them to the market to do some grocery shopping because he believes that children learn best when they are involved in the activities. As a Home Manager Joseph constantly looks into how he could improve at both macro and micro level of the children’s lives be it in programmes or infrastructure. Joseph has helped to renovate various parts of the Home ever since he came.

Joseph has faced many challenges as a Home manager from various aspects and levels, at times to a point where he is tempted to throw in the towel but he often says “we are only doing this work for the children, not for ourselves”.

Joseph’s greatest joy in the Home is when children express their joy and gratitude to him in various and sometimes unexpected ways. He would get different cards, drawings and most often than not, hugs! Whenever he enters into the Home, a lot of them will crowd around him for his attention!

Joseph believes that if one wants to have an impact that is successful in a child’s life, especially in social work, one must be very patient and must be committed for at least 5 to 7 years before moving on to something else.  He has stayed true to his philosophy of social work and he also plans to stay on in Shelter for a few more years to build an impact that is lasting.


Shelter 2 Manager – Jingle          

Shelter 2 houses teenage girls aged 13 -17, who are abused, neglected or abandoned

Jingle Bernados is from the Philippines and has acquired a Bachelor of Science degree in social work from the Mindanao State University. She has previously worked with street children/orphanage for one year followed by being involved in a full- time ministry that deals with youth for a year. She then became a Child Facilitator for a year with World Vision and also helped to organize activities for community and family as well.

She heard about Shelter through her ex-colleague, Jojo, who is also in World Vision, at a mission conference. Jojo happened to know a friend of Mr James Nayagam (Shelter’s founder) who asked her to apply to Shelter.  Jingle was interviewed and eventually got accepted.

When Jingle first came in, the management decided that she would best serve the teenagers and she was finally placed as a stay-in Home staff at Shelter 2 as there was a great need for such a staff.

Jingle then worked as a Caregiver for three and a half years before finally being promoted as Assistant Home Manager in January 2014. In April 2014, she was officially promoted as Home Manager.

As Home Manager, she has a wider job description with regards to administrative work. She has to ensure that the Home is meeting the policies and guidelines that are laid down, look into the accounts, budgeting and petty cash, work with the staff and care for the children.  Jingle admitted that the change from a Caregiver to a Home Manager was initially very difficult. However; she expressed that the transition from Assistant Home Manager and finally being the Home Manager was indeed helpful. Prior to this new position, Jingle felt that she couldn’t fit in the shoes of a Home Manager as she thought that she was not qualified enough. Jingle took the leap as the previous Home Manager was leaving Shelter.  Jingle saw the need to fill the vacancy. After much hard work, Jingle now feels that she has enough experience to work as a Home Manager efficiently.

In terms of making changes from the capacity as Home Manager, Jingle feels that there is no need to, as there are already a lot of changes made by the previous Home Manager.  She will only look into specific need requests from the girls and will bring it up with our General Manager, Mr Cheok for discussion before considering materializing such requests.

Jingle’s biggest challenge as a Home Manager is to support her staff more effectively. As Jingle is relatively new as a Home Manager, her staff find it difficult to understand her perspectives and would sometimes result in disagreements and conflicts.  Despite this challenge, Jingle is determined to slowly work through the friction and she believes that she can eventually earn the respect and understanding of her staff.

When Jingle was a Caregiver, she was like an older sister to the girls at Shelter 2 where they would share their feelings and even secrets with her. Eventhough Jingle is now the Home Manager, she feels that the girls have not distanced themselves from her and can still relate their lives to her. Jingle knows that whatever relationship that she establishes with them is very important and despite being busier as a Home Manager, she will ensure that she still spends quality time with them.


Shelter 3 home manager - William

Shelter 3 houses teenage boys aged 13 -17yr , who are abused, neglected or abandoned

William Yip is currently the Shelter 3 Home Manager and he is from KL. William’s background is in the administrative field.  He worked as an Administrative Supervisor for 22 years. He then moved to a public listed company and became the PIC in the warehouse and distribution centre. Finally, he retired at the age of 55. William took a rest for a year before signing the contract with Malayan Aids Council under the Ministry of Health to work on a project known as Needles Exchange Programme(NSEP); NSEP’s main purpose was to curb the spread of AIDS. Two years later, he joined the prison ministry and shared that he went through difficult challenges in this particularly ministry.

Sometime later, William decided to approach Mr Cheok to see if there was any vacancy. William finally joined Shelter as Shelter 3’s Home Manager.

William’s job responsibilities as a Home Manager covers the boys, visitors, staff as well as the maintenance of the Home.

With regards to the boys, he needs to look into their various needs. In the morning, he would supervise their bedding, washing up, breakfast and then he sends them off to school. At other times throughout the day, he would guide and ensure household chores are done as well. He also interacts with them to find out about their health or school needs. If they express difficulty in their studies or homework, he will try to get help by either getting volunteers or tuition teachers to come and help them. If the boys have discipline issues, William looks into it and responds accordingly.

When visitors come, William practices some “PR” by introducing them to the Home, the boys and occasionally helps to promote some PR events of Shelter.

In terms of staff responsibility, William needs to work closely with the staff in ensuring that they comply with the guidelines and policies that are laid down by Shelter. It is also his responsibility to look into providing support to them in any way possible.

As for the premises, he will have to make sure that it is neat and tidy so that it’ll give a good impression to the public. He will also clear dangerous items lying around to avoid boys from using it to start a fight with one another. When there are damages to the premises or household items, he will either repair or get donations to replace them. Lastly, just like the other Home Managers, William also deals with all the administrative matters. 

The most difficult challenge for William is the disciplining of the boys. He finds it hard that it’s not merely as simple as using a cane or using some form of harsh punishment to discipline them. Instead he guides them using reason and by having a close relationship with them. William believes that this is difficult because he and his staff have to play multiple roles. Other challenge William sometimes faces is when the boys start to fight!

William’s best moments are when he sees how the new boys who are first thin and scrawny, distant and lonely, put on weight and are accepted by everyone, months later.

William has been a Home Manager for one and a half years and he wishes to stay on as long as he can, despite his seniour age.







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