Children playing in the yard

The name "Bethany" comes from the Bible. Bethany was a place where Jesus frequently travelled. His good friends Lazarus, Mary and Martha lived there. In Bethany, Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead and performed many other miracles. It is, therefore, very appropriate for a caring ministry to be named "Bethany Home".

In the early 1960s, the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Malaysia & Singapore was keen to do some sort of social service work. After much discussion it was decided that Home for Children with Epilepsy would be started. The Lutheran Church of Malaysia & Singapore and the Swedish Lutheran Church supported the construction of the first building. The site where Bethany Church was located, in Simpang Empat Hutan Melintang, was chosen and construction commenced in 1965.

Visit by Minister of Social Welfare

Visit by Minister of Social Welfare in 1970

At the time when Bethany Home was started no other institution would admit children with epilepsy. The founders thought it was important to give these children a chance at a better life. A Swedish missionary couple Mr & Mrs Olof Sorberg were living in Malaysia; and, as they had experience in Sweden working with people with epilepsy, they were appointed to work at the Home. Bethany Home was opened in October 1966. The school started out as a residential facility with six students. We now offer numerous disability support services and provide these services to about 150 students and clients!

Mr and Mrs Sorberg

Mr Jayasingh and Mr & Mrs Sorberg in 1998

Over the years Bethany Home has been the vehicle by which the Evangelical Lutheran church has provided care for disabled children and adults. There have been many organisations that have played a significant role in the development of Bethany Home. The biggest supporters have been the Malaysian Government followed by service clubs such as Lions and Rotary.

In the 1980's the Day School program was started, followed closely by the Early Intervention program. When the Day School program began, residential children from the local area were settled back into their family homes and brought to school by van on a daily basis. The Early Intervention program focused on improving the potential of children aged between 0 - 6 years, offering them an early start which enabled them to smoothly integrate into the school program.

Children playing at Bethany Home

Playtime at Bethany in 1980

The number of local disabled children and adults seeking help has steadily increased over the years, and we have been able to increase both our intake and the range of services we offer.

Mr and Mrs Solomon

Solomon John & wife Kay in 2000

A total of approximately 1,000 disabled people, both young and old, have so far benefited from Bethany Home's support services since its establishment in 1966.

Bethany Home has been instrumental in raising awareness of people with disability in the wider community. Previously disability was associated with hopelessness and despair. As Bethany Home becomes known for its positive innovative changes and contributions to society, this attitude is being replaced with that of acceptance and hope. Back to top

Card painting at school

Card painting at school

Having a picnic in 1969

Students and teachers having a picnic in 1969

Chronological History


August: For the first time, all Group Home children and their parents came together for a one night camp.

July: The 2nd National Self Advocacy Conference was held in Bethany Home and attended by people from all over Malaysia.

March: Varaprasad a/l Sanasi represented Malaysia at the Special Olympics World Games in Athens, Greece. Director Mr. Jayasingh went as Assistant Head of Malaysian Delegation to Special Olympics World Games.

Februrary: Bethany Home competed in the Singapor-Malaysia Futsal competition and won second prize.


July: The Concordia College Orchestra from Adelaide, Australia came to entertain our students with their music.

August: 18 Phoenix Club members together with 8 staff and volunteers went to Gua Tempurung to experience caving.


July: 10 students participated in the state level function 'Sinamrobik' organised by the local Pejabat Belia & Sukan in Teluk Intant.

June: Two very experienced teachers from St. Ann's Catholic School for special children conducted a course for our teachers.

April: As part of AM Bank's Annual Treasure Hunt program, they chose Bethany Home as one of the pit stops along the route.

March: Some Lighthouse staff and trainees were invited to demonstrate Paper Making using recycled papers, at an event held in Shangri La Hotel, Kuala Lumpur.

February: 4 students and 2 staff attended the National Advocacy Conference in Penang.

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The DREAM begins. Purchased 6.4 acres of land for the development of a football field and futsal court; a farm and nursery for people with disability; and an integrated retirement village.

October: Bethany Advocacy Club members had a short holiday in the Cameron Highlands, travelling by public transport.

July: Farewelled our Speech Therapist, Ms Ruth Tan, who served in Bethany from 1998.

May: National level Paralympics Games in Kuala Lumpur. Four wheelchair-bound students represented Perak in BOCCE.


Another two houses purchased and opened as a Group Home (Taman Desa Bernam Indah).

October: Ooi Zeck Chiy represented Malaysia at the Special Olympics World Games, in Shanghai China.

August: National Advocacy Conference in Kota Kinabalu. Four members of the Bethany Advocacy Club attended.

August: 1st State BOCCE Tournament held in Teluk Intan.


November: Celebration of Bethany Home's 40th Anniversary! The Dato' Zahid Bin Hamidi, Deputy Minister of Information, Malaysia graced the Grand Finale of our celebrations - he was very pleased by the work in Bethany and promised to look into the installation of a traffic light crossing directly outside Bethany Home. This crossing has since been installed.

September: Malaysian Special Olympics Meet, Kota Kinabalu. Four of our students went as representatives of Perak state. One was selected to represent Malaysia at the International Meet in Shanghai, China, 2007.

February: Climbing Gunung Ledang, Johore. A group of students, teachers and volunteers participated in the TR Everest Solo Expedition For Charity Project 2006 publicity program.


December: Bethany Home was awarded the Anugerah Mayang Sri Endon Caregiver Cemerlang Award in Malaysia (award for best caregiver), in the institution category.

November: Madam Gunam retired from teaching. She gave 32 years of devoted service to Bethany Home, our longest serving staff.

November: Snozelen Room sponsored by Ronald McDonald.

August: Asia Pacific International BOCCE Competition in Brunei. Nine students and 5 staff from Bethany Home participated in this competition. They received many medals.

August: The Hydroponic Project, sponsored by United Parcel Services, was officially handed over to Bethany Home.

July: A Catholic Priest, Father Adam and Sister Concepcion conducted a special education course for our teachers.

June: 3rd Mount Kinabalu Climb. 2 staff and 2 students reached the peak.

March: Miss Pirriya, a young and helpful teacher was involved in a fatal accident when returning home from a Mt Kinabalu training session at Bethany Home.

February: Medical Treatment at Bethany Home, provided by the Pediatric Department of Teluk Intan Hospital for the first time. They continue to offer medical treatment at Bethany with monthly visits.

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Highlights From Early 2000's

2004: The Parent's Support Group initiated and gave information for the booklet "A Parentís Guide to Services for Children with a Disability".

2004: The Bethany Home book "Dare to Dream" was written by Valerie Bock.

2004: The computer room was established upstairs.

2004 September: Clean the World Day (campaign initiated by the Australian government) - The Lighthouse trainees and staff participated in the area of Taman Desa Bernam Housing Estate. An officer from the local Australian Embassy graced the occasion.

2004 August: The first Unified Games (Special Olympics Team Competition) were held.

2004 June: 2nd Mount Kinabalu Climb. Another four students and their supporter staff climbed Mt Kinabalu.

2003: The first group of students moved into our new Independent Group Home (Taman Desa Bernam Baru).

2002 April: Mount Kinabalu Climb. Four students and four staff climbed to the top of Mount Kinabalu (Special Olympics).

2001: Two shop lots purchased for Lighthouse (Taman Desa Bernam Baru).

2001: Three houses purchased to be an Independent Group Homes for employees of Lighthouse (Taman Desa Bernam Baru).

2001 January: The Lighthouse Project rented a shop lot outside Bethany Campus.

2000: Charity Dinner - for the Lighthouse Project - over RM 300,000 raised.

2000: The Lighthouse Project (sheltered workshop) started at the Bethany Home compound.

The 1990's

1999 July: Visit by Minister of Social Welfare YB Datin Paduka Hajah Zalcha Binti Ismail.

1999 March: Independent Boys Home trial opened (Residents moved from Taman Melati Shophouse to "Ebenezer" Taman Ehsan).

1997: Donation of a Minibus enabled children from the surrounding area of Teluk Intan district attend Bethany Home on a daily basis.

1996 December: 30th Anniversary and opening of the Physiotherapy Unit.

1996 September: Charity Dinner - for the Physiotherapy Unit Building.

1996 March: Early Intervention Program started first CBR group in Bagan Datoh.

1995 February: First Bethany Home Graduation Ceremony. Seven young adults successfully moved into Open Employment at Caelygirl factory and a furniture shop.

1993 January: Mr. Jayasingh Rajiah appointed as Director.

1992: Another Group Home opened (Taman Cemerlang).

1992 December: Community Playground opened.

1991 December: Cafe MMM (Makan! Minum! Main!; Eat! Drink! Play!) officially opened for work-skills training.

1991: Two houses (Taman Ishaq, Antek Ave) and one shop house (Lorong Melati) purchased. Residents from rented Group Homes moved into these houses. One of the second-hand shops moved into the ground floor of the Lorong Melati shop house.

1990 February: Integrated Schooling began; class in Methodist Girls School.

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The 1980's

1989 November: Intensive Live-In Parent & Family Training Programme began.

1989: Toy Library officially opened.

1989: Another second-hand shop opened (shop rented in Simpang Empat).

1989: Toy Workshop started.

1988: Another Group Home opened (a second house rented in Simpang Empat).

1987: First second-hand shop opened (shop rented in Simpang Empat).

1987 February: First Group Home opened (house rented in Simpang Empat).

1987 February: Early Intervention Programme started - first class was held.

1986: Day-School program began.

1986: New building extension opened by Bishop E. B. Muthusami.

1984 August: Miss Sally Moses appointed as Director.

1981 December: Mr. Solomon John appointed as Director.

Early History

1978 March: Mr. Olof Sorberg appointed as Director.

1973 July: Mrs. Achariam appointed as Director.

1973 April: Mrs. Lena Moses appointed as Director.

1971 January: Birgitta Envall appointed as Director.

1969 July: Mr. Olof Sorberg appointed as Director.

1968 March: Birgitta Sanden appointed as Director.

1966 October: Mr. Olof Sorberg was appointed by the Church of Sweden as Director.

1966 October: Bethany Home was opened on 12th of October by Bishop Envall.

1965: Construction work began.

1964: Bishop Bertil Envall suggested starting a training centre for epileptic children.

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