“We found out that it was because these students could not afford to buy data reloads to surf the Internet,” said a teacher who requested not to be named.
She said the teachers later found out that many students faced a similar situation.
“These students’ parents or guardians were forced to stay home with no income as they are paid on a daily basis. There are days when these families only eat plain porridge or a meal a day.
“Some even had to skip meals,” added the 36-year-old teacher.
She said a teacher who managed to speak with one girl was shocked by the hardship the student faced.
“It turned out that the girl had to choose between using RM10 for reloads or to buy food.
“Most of the time, they have to choose food,” she said.
The teacher added that on days when the girl got to reload her phone, the family would be forced to just fill their stomachs with plain porridge.
She said the girl, who has two sisters who are also studying in the same school, was from a single-parent household.
“These girls aged 13, 15 and 16 used to work part-time at a restaurant on weekends to help their mother.
“They also attend school on a rotational basis as they only have one pair of shoes to share among themselves but that problem had been solved,” added the teacher.
The teachers later decided to fork out their own money to buy food for the families.
“We also shared this information with our friends and family hoping to raise more funds and thankfully, we managed to get enough to prepare food baskets for over 50 families.
“This was a spontaneous idea and we allocated two days to raise the funds and delivered the items to 55 students and their families over the weekend. Over 40 people came forward to donate money anonymously,” she said.
Following their initiative, many other students are also hoping for such assistance.
“We will try to raise more funds for a second round. We cannot help everyone but we will try to focus on those needing assistance the most first,” she said, adding that she hoped to get the school Parents Teachers Association to take part in the initiative.
The conditional MCO, imposed on Oct 13, will end on Oct 25. However, it might be extended due to the rising Covid-19 cases in Sabah.
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