NABAWAN (July 19): Forces of Love (FOL) for Educare 2022 returns to Sabah after a two-year post-pandemic hiatus with the distribution of essential school items to 2,533 children inside Sabah.
The program is a smart partnership collaboration between Sabah State Department of Education and FOL.
A total of 2,533 primary school children benefited from the program. Areas covered include rural Penampang, Pensiangan, Nabawan, Keningau, Kudat and Kota Belud.
The distribution took place in three phases starting with Penampang followed by Pensiangan, Nabawan, Keningau, Kota Belud and Kudat in phase two and finally the rest in phase three.
Twenty-two schools were selected in the county based on the B40 category of rural schools with an average family income of less than RM800 per month.
Udin Bin Lemin, director of SK Babalitan, said 95% of students at the school belong to the B40 extreme poverty group.
“Parents have no fixed income and the majority are listed under E-Kasih. Absenteeism is extremely high due to family history. The school is accessible only on foot and by boat only. We hope that such a distribution can be provided every year and expanded to include other forms of donations such as repairs and upgrades, including setting up a solar system, as SK Babalitan does not use currently only limited generators,” he said.
Meanwhile, Pensiangan District Education Officer Ipisus Sumbiling further explained that the scheme rewards students who have a high percentage of school attendance.
“Standing in front of the crowd to receive items from school teachers further acts as a motivator for them to make an effort to come every day.”
The program introduced children to school essentials including uniforms, shoes, socks, bags, raincoats, stationery, toys, cups, food containers, dictionaries, geometry sets, crayons, confectionery, books and groceries with a net worth of RM150 per Positioner. The total cost of the project is over RM350,000 including the procurement of items and shipping and logistics costs in the respective areas. Volunteers paid for their own food, housing, lodging, flights, ground and boat transportation.
Different age groups received different sets of items based on the needs analysis, such as stationery and books.
Strict standard operating procedures (SOPs) were followed at the events, in line with comprehensive recommendations from the Ministries of Health and Education.
Abidin Marjan, Deputy Director of Sabah State Department of Education (Education Operations – School Management Division), said that 70% of schools in Sabah are located in the rural interior of Sabah, with only 30 % in urban areas.
“The direct distribution of essential school items in these areas, namely Pensiangan, Nabawan, Kudat, Kota Belud and Rural Penampang, is truly a noble and commendable effort on the part of FOL.”
He said that the FOL-Educare is a smart partnership program jointly organized by the local State Education Offices (PPDs) and Sabah State Department of Education under the patronage of the Division of school management.
He hopes that the program can be expanded in the near future with the involvement of local PPDs and the Sabah State Department of Education in a more systematic and organized manner in the delivery of school essentials to students.
“I would like to thank all the donors, volunteers and all those who have contributed significantly to the program. I invite the group to collaborate in all future programs and would like to open all schools in the Sabah district to similar activities.
“This program is about developing humanity to be better humans by motivating children by spreading the seeds of love. We are Sabahans and we come together to make Malaysia a better nation.
Goh Chong Meng, National Project Manager of FOL, said the program is aptly named “Nabawan Challenge” as the majority of schools are located in inland areas bordering Indonesia’s borders in the highlands.
“The project is currently the most difficult and exciting due to the road conditions. We are grateful to have a team of dedicated volunteers led by our Sabah Chapter Leader, Then Chun Tak and Ong Khye Ching to ensure the distribution runs smoothly. We would like to thank the Buddhist Society of Keningau and the Buddhist Association of Kudat for providing ground support and local storage for the team.
“The terrains are extremely difficult, especially during the rainy season, as most schools do not have accessible roads, only via roads and boats. We hope that many other organizations and people can contribute to a similar project by helping our children in Sabah. »
The outreach program started in 2014 with just one school, SK Moyog, benefiting 200 children. Today, it has since grown by leaps and bounds to its current size of 2,533 children and has spread into many different areas.
All donations and inquiries for Sabah can be directed to Sabah Chapter Head – Then Chun Tak (6016 – 888 7378 or [email protected]) or Peninsular Malaysia – National Project Manager Goh Chong Meng (6012 – 283 8197/email:- cm [email protected])