The start of the 2021 school year is like no other with Malaysia in a State of Emergency, to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. Our nation is striking a delicate balance betweenprotecting the well-being of the population whilst ensuring that the next generation receives the best education possible despite the economic impact the pandemic has had on communities such as the Orang Asli.
The Orang Asli population have been among the hardest hit economically, and the recent floods in Johor, Pahang and Perak have further disrupted incomes while the fear of their children possibly contracting COVID-19 weighs on them. Despite these setbacks, Orang Asli families are eager for their children to continue schooling for a better future.
TOP, the Putra Brand Award 2019 Platinum winner for the household product category, ‘Brighter Future with TOP’ charity fund-raising campaign, supported by TESCO and JAKOA arrived right on time to empower 420 Orang Asli students from six schools in Pahang, Perak and Johor with back-to-school essentials including exceeded expectation equipping an additional 60 students from the initial target of 360 students.
Southern Lion Sdn Bhd, Marketing Manager (Fabric Care Division) Ling Ai Li thanked TESCO, JAKOA and the brand’s customers for supporting a brighter future for Orang Asli children even in these difficult times.
Tesco Stores (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd, Head of Communications and Corporate Social Responsibility, Hanim Hamdan said that the leading retailer fully supported the campaigns goals and choose to add value by contributing water bottles and food containers to help Orang Asli students comply with COVID-19 standard operating procedures (SOP) of physical distancing.
The Orang Asli primary schools receiving back-to-school essentials include SK Kampung Kudong a high-achieving Orang Asli school in a forest reserve in Bekok Johor, SK Pos Dipang in Jeram, Perak that has shown exceptional spirit in rebuilding from landslides, floods and other tragedies, and the isolated SK Terisu, in Cameron Highlands, Pahang. Orang Asli students from SK Kenering, SK Pahit and SK Batu 4 in Perak were also recipients.
Despite restrictions on interstate travel and flooding in some areas, the JAKOA’s team arranged and delivered 150 cartons of back-to-school essentials of new uniforms, shoes, socks, school bags, stationery sets, pencil cases, colour pencils, exercise books, water bottles, food containers, two pieces of reusable face masks and a 750gm pack of TOP Super Hygienic Powder Detergent for each child, as well as art supplies and ukuleles for the school.
The contribution serves to protect the children from the COVID-19 virus, motivate them to attend school and ease some of their parents’ financial burdens.