Thousands benefit from Back-to-School programme
Published on: Monday, December 02, 2019
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Photo shows (seated from right) Prof Datin Seri Dr Ann Anton, Prof Datuk Seri Dr Kamaruzaman Ampon, Datuk Dr Yusof Yacob, Puan Hajjah Yatela Zainal Abidin, Datuk Ramlee Dua, George Taitim Tulas with the student recipients of the Back to School Programme.
Kota Kinabalu: More than 9,000 students and over 70 schools throughout Sabah have benefited from the Yayasan Sime Darby (YSD) and Rotary Club of Kota Kinabalu(RCKK) Back To School Programme since it began in 2014.

RCKK public relations chair, Past District Governor Edward Sung Burongoh, said YSD had spent about RM700,000 to “improve access to basic education, support research and advocacy works and to reduce access to quality education gaps between urban and rural students” in Sabah.

RCKK President, Professor Datuk Seri Dr Kamaruzaman Hj Ampon, said the Back-to-School Assistance programme aims to ease the burden of the underprivileged including single parents, orphans, children from homes where one of both parents are disabled and unable to work and children from families living below the poverty line.

To achieve the objective, the Sabah Credit Corporation(SCC) was enlisted to identify the target school. The list and details of entitled students would be sent to YSD. 

Students have to be from families with a total income of less that RM4,000 per month. They have to be enrolled in a learning centre or primary/secondary school.

“The project helps to ease the burden of families living below the poverty line. They are provided with back to school expenses especially on purchase of school uniform and other basic necessities which enable their children to attend school” said Kamaruzaman, and added “we monitor the progress of the students receiving these benefits by their attendance in school.”

The school items include one set of boy/girl uniform, school bag, a pair of black shoes, two pairs of black socks, a raincoat and a set of mathematics geometry instrument and ball pen.

According to Kamaruzaman, the programme was started in 2014 in Kota Marudu with nine schools and 920 recipients. In 2015, it was held in Tenom in eight schools with 965 recipients, plus an orphanage with 12 orphans. In 2016, 11 schools in Tawau and two orphanages with a total of 1300 recipients were involved in the program. In 2017, 16 schools in Kinabatangan/Sukau with 1653 students benefitted. In 2018, 24 schools in the Nabawan District, namely Sapulut, Pagalungan, Pensiangan, Panggaraan and Nabawan involving about 3000 students received the aid. 

This year, four schools in Sipitang with over 1,400 students were involved in the programme with the collaboration of the State Ministry of Education and Innovation. It was also officiated by the State Education and Innovation Minister Datuk Dr Yusof Yacob.

In Sipitang, the CEO of YSD, Puan Hajjah Yatela Zainal Abidin, thanked the schools for giving them the opportunity to undertake this worthwhile project by identifying the underprivileged students. She also thanked the State Ministry of Education and Innovation, the District Council and the State Education Department for their assistance.

Yatela said that in the next school year, YSD has set aside more than RM490,000 to help some 430,000 deserving students throughout the nation.

Present at the Back to School program in Sipitang were the CEO of Yayasan Sime Darby, Puan Hajjah Yatela Zainal Abidin, CEO Sabah Credit Corporation George Taitim Tulas, Sabah Energy Corporation Chairman Datuk Ramlee Dua, Danny Wong and Joe Selestine of RCKK.


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