POHD: The Catholic social services arm

Since 1976, the Malaysian Catholic Church identified ‘integral human development’ as one of the core needs, which paved way to the birth of offices for human development throughout Peninsular Malaysia.

The setting up of offices of the Human Development is based on the concept of the Catholic social teachings that the social mission of the Church is an essential part of the Catholic faith.

The establishment of human development centre is an expression of the Catholic social teaching Vatican document, which stems from the teachings of Jesus Christ in the Gospel, that everyone has a responsibility to be involved in seeing to the needs of their brothers and sisters.

In the year 2000, the Diocese of Penang (northern states), set up the Penang Office for Human Development (POHD) to address the needs of the poor and marginalized, regardless of race and religion, through charity, justice, peace and integral human development.

Through POHD, a drop in centre known as The Lighthouse was set up in 2003 to provide dinner for the poor and destitute homeless.

The Lighthouse started providing dinner three times a week and gradually today, as the number of those who drop in increased, it provides tea and dinner, five times a week. Besides the meal, The Lighthouse also provides bathing, medical facilities and consultation.

The Lighthouse is manned by a few full time paid staff and many volunteers who take turns to cook the meals.

Today, The Lighthouse also help people get off the streets by getting them to earn a living on their own. This project, which is known as Lightworks was carried out by identifying people with skills or those who are willing to learn, to offer their services to the public.

Some of Lightworks projects, which have been going on are cleaning and maintaining graveyards, house cleaning, and gardening, moving house and office and also painting services.

A bakery and a café, manned by the rehabilitated homeless, had also been started, housed at the same premise of The Lighthouse.

Meanwhile, under the Ministry of Children, there is Bright Sparks, which caters to poor and underprivileged children to help and guide them to advance.

The Migrant Ministry reaches out to many migrant workers, in providing help and support to them in many areas. The Migrant Ministry, under POHD, is also a member of JUMP (Jaringan Utara Migrasi dan Pelarian), a group started, to gather all NGOs inPenangwho are involved in migrants and refugees work.

POHD frequently works with or support other NGOs in Penang, and had by itself; establish a name as one of the many known NGOs inPenang.

POHD office is located at the second floor of the Pusat Keuskupan Katolik building at Macalister Road.