Helping hand for grieving siblings

The gift of giving: (From left) Class teacher Mahadi Ab Aziz, Syahira, Nini, Azimah, Nurhayati and her other children posing with the gadgets.

THANKS to some Good Samaritans, Form Three student Nur Syahira Fatiha and her younger siblings now have a more comfortable online learning experience.

Early this month, they received a laptop, a printer and a smartphone, which will enable them to gain access to online classes in real time.

Before this, they could only access their teachers’ messages and materials via their mother’s handphone after she returned from work in the evenings.

“I’m really happy that I can now attend my online classes. I mostly use the laptop and the printer, while my younger siblings use the handphone, ” said Nur Syahira, a student from SM Sains Setiu, Terengganu.

The past year had been especially tough for Nur Syahira’s family. They went through a sudden turn of events when her father, a fish farmer in Setiu, died in an accident at his workplace.

He was filling some drums with carbide to be used as buoys in the fish cage area when another drum nearby exploded.Subsequently, her mother, Nurhayati Mohamed, had to take on a job as a personal shopper to provide for the family. That left Nur Syahira, the eldest child, with the responsibility of looking after an 18-month-old toddler and her three schoolgoing siblings – in Year One, Year Three and Form One.

The family’s plight tugged at Setiu district education office (PPD) school improvement specialist coach plus (SISC+) Azimah Dollah’s heartstrings.

“What triggered me to help the family was a post I saw in a parents’ group on WhatsApp, ” she told StarEdu.

According to Azimah, Nurhayati had sent a message, apologising to the teachers for her daughter’s absence in online classes and explaining the family’s circumstances.

Within three days, Azimah managed to collect enough funds from her family and friends to buy Nur Syahira and her siblings a laptop and a printer.

She also got SM Sains Setiu’s parent-teacher association (PTA) chairman Assoc Prof Dr Ahmad Suhaili Mohd Salleh to sponsor a smartphone.

“I’m the SISC+ officer in charge of the school but I’m doing this as a mother helping another mother, ” said Azimah, adding that she heard from Nur Syahira’s teachers that she is a conscientious student.

Having taught Nur Syahira from the time she was in Form One, SM Sains Setiu Geography teacher Nini Shafrina Hussin can attest to that.

“She is a hardworking and active student. She has represented our school at the state level chess competition. She is keen on learning and doesn’t want to be left behind in her studies.

“What’s amazing is that when I gave my students deadlines, she was always among those who completed the work on time – as if she had constant access to a gadget, when in fact she had to wait until her mum returned in order to study and do her schoolwork at night, ” said Nini, adding that her teaching tools include Telegram, YouTube, Microsoft PowerPoint and Google Meet.

Nurhayati, 36, is immensely grateful for the help and kindness extended to her family.

“I didn’t know what to do with four schooling children who had to do online learning. My son in Form One had a WhatsApp group for each subject, and Syahira had a lot of exercises that needed to be printed. Their online attendance was recorded.

“I feel relieved that I can continue my children’s education with the gadgets, ” she said, adding that she is sustaining her family with her income from being a cash-on-delivery runner, as well as an RM450 monthly assistance from the Social Welfare Department (JKM).

Azimah hopes that more people will come forward to help those in need.

“I’m sure there are many students with these problems. If the public knows of it, they should help. If people have problems, they should seek help, as well. That’s how public awareness can be created, ” she said.

Those who would like to assist Nur Syahira’s family can contact Azimah at

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