Aid for single mum with kids missing out on online lessons

Mahani (second from right) handing over food packs and school essentials to Zaliza and her children while the school’s senior assistant Azman Mohd Nordin (right) looks on. – LIM BENG TATT/The Star

EIGHT-year-old Afina Azirah Irwan Shah’s mother Zaliza Sezali is a single parent who is unemployed and wondering how she is going to manage her children’s back-to-school preparations.

“I just make do with what I have for now but both my kids, especially Afina, are very eager and excited about going back to school for the face-to-face classes.

“I will try to do my best and everything possible to send them to school,” said Zaliza, 40, at her house in Langkawi.

Coming from a hardcore poor family, Zaliza also has to look after her wheelchair-bound mother-in-law Tiawan Shafie, 63, whose eyesight has deteriorated due to old age.

Zaliza lost her job as a server at a food stall due to the pandemic and has been relying on assistance from her neighbours and relatives.

Her ex-husband is currently serving a jail sentence.

Afina, a Year Two pupil at SK Penghulu Ahmad and her 10-year-old brother Dani Asyraf Irwan Shah said they were eager to go to school because they wanted to see their friends.

The siblings were paid a visit by their teachers and a team of officers from the Education Ministry at their home in Kampung Padang Lalang, Langkawi, recently as part of the Education Ministry’s media engagement programme on the reopening of school in Langkawi.

Due to the family’s financial constraints, both Afina and Dani Asyraf, who are recipients of the Prihatin Kasih programme under the MyKasih Foundation, have been missing online learning sessions as they could not afford the necessary gadgets for the purpose.

SK Penghulu Ahmad counselling teacher Mahani Mahmood who visited the children, said the children’s attendance during physical classes before this was satisfactory.

“Sometimes they missed school because they didn’t have transportation and they mostly depended on their neighbours to send them to the school,” she said.

She said the school would do its best to help the siblings but the community could also play its role to help out.

During the visit, the family was given food packs and daily necessities to ease their burden.

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