Bridging the gap in education

(From left) Low, Standard Chartered Malaysia chairman Datuk Yvonne Chia, Tengku Zafrul, Abrar and Teach For Malaysia trustee Shahnaz Al-Sadat Mohsein holding the mock cheques.

GUIDED by the premise that quality education produces the leaders of tomorrow, Standard Chartered Malaysia has donated to not-for-profit organisations Teach For Malaysia (TFM) and Pertubuhan Pembangunan Kendiri Wanita Dan Gadis (Women:girls).

In a ceremony witnessed by Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz, the bank handed over a donation of RM1mil to TFM and RM404,000 to Women:girls.

Tengku Zafrul commended Standard Chartered’s commitment in providing the academic support needed by underprivileged students.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has created the largest disruption of education systems in the history of Malaysia and the world.

“During such difficult times, we thank Standard Chartered for its efforts in helping the most vulnerable people in our communities to get the help they need.

“The collective value of public-private partnerships is exponential and investing in education is one of the best ways to equip and empower our next generation of leaders to build a resilient economy.”

TFM is an independent organisation committed to ending educational inequity, while Women:girls aims to empower girls and women and help them realise their goals.

The contributions were made in line with the bank’s brand promise “Here for Good” to ensure that the most vulnerable segments of society, such as children and the poor, received the assistance they needed.

“We want to do what we can to support our communities and play our part as a responsible institution in the markets where we operate,” said Standard Chartered Malaysia managing director and chief executive officer Abrar A. Anwar.

“These funds aim to help ease the burden, especially of underprivileged families, to make sure their children continue to have access to education.

“Although students are returning to schools, the requirements of the new normal coupled with potential economic loss can bring about concerns over some students’ social and emotional wellbeing,” he added.

TFM chief executive officer Chan Soon Seng said: “The Covid-19 pandemic has brought to the forefront the gap in access to education between students from the B40 communities and their wealthier peers.

“Many students have not had access to learning during school closures, which has caused them to fall behind their peers who are better connected digitally.

“We are thankful for Standard Chartered’s support.

“Together, we hope to close the learning gap that has been exacerbated by the pandemic.”

Women:girls founder Low Ngai Yuen said: “As the bank’s partner for one of its girl empowerment programmes called ‘Goal’, we are delighted to be included in this initiative.

“As many of our beneficiaries had to miss out on learning due to the pandemic, we realised there was a need to bridge the digital gap.

“With this initiative, we hope to allow more students to be at the same starting line in developing their potential and making an impact on their communities.”

Abrar said the donations to TFM and Women:girls were expected to impact over 6,000 students nationwide.

The contributions mark the completion of RM2.36mil in financial aid by the bank to provide assistance to communities affected by the pandemic.

Since April, the bank has donated RM500,000 to Mercy Malaysia (via The Association of Banks Malaysia initiative) as well as RM150,000 each to the Star Foundation and Media Prima Humanitarian Fund to support relief efforts by Health Ministry and the National Crisis Preparedness and Response Centre.

Additionally, Standard Chartered Saadiq Malaysia and Standard Chartered Global Business Services Malaysia donated RM5,000 — through another initiative by The Association of Islamic Banking and Financial Institutions Malaysia — along with 40,000 face masks worth RM154,000 to frontliners respectively.

Standard Chartered PLC launched its US$50mil (RM207.84mil) Global Charitable Fund to support those affected by Covid-19, with two distinct phases to the funding.

Phase one aims to provide US$25mil (RM103.92mil) emergency relief for communities and the remaining US$25mil will be used to support economic recovery and protect livelihoods.

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