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70pc Sabah schools are in the interior
Published on: Tuesday, May 16, 2023
By: Lorena Binisol
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Students receiving the donations from the volunteers.
Kota Kinabalu: Some 70 per cent of schools in Sabah are located in the interior while the rest are in urban areas, according to Deputy Education Director Abidin Marjan.

He said several children especially required a lot of assistance due to the low social-economic status of their families.

“Direct distribution of school essential items to these places truly commendable noble effort by FOL as the hilly terrain are highly challenging due to lack of proper road infrastructure.

He said SK Rundum, SK Sumambu, SK Kapulu and SK Kolorok are located way up in the highlands in Tenom and accessible via off-road transportation.

“Likewise, SK Pangi is only reachable via limited train services twice a day.  There are no roads. River crossing is prohibited,” said Marjan.

Forces of Love (FOL) for Educare 2023/2024 (based in Kuala Lumpur) concluded its phase-two distribution of school essentials to needy children in the interior of Sabah in a 12-day expedition in Keningau, Tenom, Nabawan and Kudat, respectively, early this year

A total of 3,567 primary school children benefited from the programme, which also helped Orang Asli children in the peninsula.

The items presented comprised uniforms, shoes, socks, bags, raincoats, stationery, toys, tumblers, food containers, dictionaries, geometry sets, colour pencils, books and food items – all worth RM180 per set. 

Different age groups were given different sets of items based on their needs.

Abidin said the FOL Educare is a smart-partnership collaboration programme jointly organised by the local district state education offices and Sabah Education Department (under patronage of the school management sector).

To-date, 94 schools (13,139 pupils) in Sabah had benefited since the programme’s inception in 2015.

He hoped the programme could be expanded in the future with involvement of the local district education offices in a more systematic and organised manner.

Similarly, a pilot project to motivate rural children in using the English Language under the theme, “English for Life” would be introduced.

“I welcome any groups to collaborate on all future porgrammes in Sabah district schools.” 

Goh Chong Meng, national director of FOL, said: “The challenging economic downturn experienced after the pandemic resulted in a significant 50pc dropped in fundraising.

“There was a fine balance between the shortage of funds versus the high demands from the population of deserving needy pupils and time constraints for the reopening of the new school term.

“Prices of goods had gone up dramatically.

“We cannot deprive the needy pupils, hence, we have to work doubly hard to secure funding,” he said.

The locations of schools in the remote areas and highlands with no road infrastructure plus an ageing group of volunteers was another major concern.

He conveyed his appreciation to generous donors and volunteers in handling the humanitarian projects and special mention to Kudat and Keningau Buddhist Associations in providing logistics and manpower mobilisation to the teams.





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