Social worker seeks donations for used smart devices for poor students in Sabah

KOTA KINABALU: It’s time for you to donate your used handphone, tablet or computer that are sitting idle in your house to those who need them.

Many poor families across Sabah would be thankful as the electronic items would help their children's immediate need to attend online classes following closure of schools due to the Covid-19 movement control order.

Social worker Rebecca Chin Fong Lai (pic), who has been actively reaching out to help poor families as well as providing hot meals for frontliners during the pandemic, is now turning her attention to help families badly in need of smart devices.

It dawned on Chin that these children badly needed such items when a Penampang couple told her of their children’s difficulty to attend online classes, as they could not afford to buy each of them a handphone.

"Both parents lost their jobs and they were asking for anyone who had old handphones to give the items to them," said Chin, who is also a professional artist.

Similar requests for used smart devices began pouring in her "Beli Nothing" Facebook group, where people give away used items to those needing it on the condition it was for their own use and cannot be sold.

Chin is now reaching out to families and friends to donate their old but serviceable devices so that the items would be given to families in need of the gadgets for their childrens' education.

“My request is that the phones are in working order with chargers as well, and if possible, earphones," she said, adding that those donating could also consider sponsoring a sim card for the phone as many of poor families might find it difficult to cough up RM30.

"Whatever smartphone, tablet or computer which is working, we appreciate it, as it many of these children need the items now," she said in urging the public to help.

She said some of those needing devices was because they needed to leave their homes to go to places that has better Internet connectivity.

"Many of these families have more than two or three children attending online classes simultaneously and could not afford handphones for each child," she added.

Chin said that she was in touch with other NGOs working in areas like northern Pitas and Kudat to identify families in need of such help.

Those interested to help can call Rebecca Chin at 014-653 7589 for further details.

On Thursday (Jan 28), state minister Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun said that the state government with the Education Department was currently collecting data of students needing learning gadgets before a decision is made to assist the people.

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