Sabah's Next Generation rises to the challenge

KOTA KINABALU: After getting more than enough funds to help some 500 needy families around Sembulan near here, a group of university students and those waiting to further their studies are now hoping to help the Prisons Department.

The group of over 40 members who call themselves the Sabah Next Generation (SNG), consists of mainly undergraduates who are studying overseas, with a fraction of them here coordinating activities in Sabah.

Its representative, Coen Lee, said now that the Prisons Department in Kepayan and their Matambai workers quarters are under enhanced movement control order (MCO), there is no doubt they need all the help they can get.

“We know they need personal protective equipment (PPE), and hygiene products such as soap, hand sanitisers and masks, ” he said.

Lee added members who are overseas and faced with their own difficulties are also trying their best to chip in and get donations for their cause.

“When we help, it’s on humanitarian grounds. We understand that not only the prison wardens and officers need assistance as they too are forced to observe the enhanced MCO, but also prisoners who need to keep as clean as possible during this period, ” he said.

As of Oct 20, over 400 inmates at the Kepayan prison have been tested positive for Covid-19.

The enhanced MCO until Nov 2 will involve 3,511 people, including 2,914 inmates and 597 prison staff members.

Prior to this, SNG managed to collect over RM20,000 to buy food baskets for over 500 families in Sembulan and its surrounding areas.

The items were distributed to the target groups on Monday and Tuesday.

In another similar case, teachers who rallied to help underprivileged students of their school near the city are getting more attention from generous and kind citizens after news of their work was publicised.

One of the teachers involved in the donation drive said she had been getting quite a number of responses not only from Sabahans, but kind hearted people from other states as well.

“We are touched by how many people are willing to help, regardless of the background of these children, ”she said.

However, she said this time, the school's parent teacher association will be taking over the fundraising and distribution of food baskets to needy students in their school.

“Those who wish to donate can do so by contacting the PTA representatives at 013-8693148,013-4288488,013-8670437 or 013-8635474 for more information.

The living conditions of these students were discovered when teachers started to probe into why many of them were not available for online classes during the conditional MCO period.

They found that the families, who were paid on a daily basis, had to choose between buying food and data reloads to allow their children to access the Internet, and most of the time, had to choose food over others.

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