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By Jeiilnyly Masal and Hasnah Jusid
KUALA LUMPUR, April 7 -- In pursuit of knowledge and better livelihood, The saying ‘Practice makes perfect’ best described the people of Sabah – the Land Under the Wind - who are willing to travel to the peninsula at a very young age to seek knowledge.
It is not easy for the hundreds of children sponsored by the Sabah Foundation (YS) in having to go through various challenges to further their secondary education in a new place, where everything is entirely different from their hometown, when they are only 13 years old.
However, with patience, courage, discipline and determination, hundreds of students who are sent to selected secondary schools in the peninsula fully utilised the assistance and opportunity given by YS by completing their studies until they sat for the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) examination.
"With such assistance, it paved the way for me to pursue my dreams and also ambition to serve the state (Sabah), as well as the opportunity to learn to be independent being away from home at a young age.
"If I had problems, like over expenses or school needs, I will inform YS and they will meet all the requirements.
“YS also provided tuition classes for subjects that I was weak in,” said former YS student, Jasfirlanny Kaat, 18, from Keningau, when met by Bernama recently.
A former student of Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan (SMK) Victoria, Kuala Lumpur, he said the sponsorship by YS helped to reduce his parent’s burden to bear the cost of his studies.
Jasfirlanny said the opportunity given by the Sabah government through YS for him to further his studies in the peninsula should be utilised fully bring his family out of the vicious cycle of poverty.
An alumnus of Sekolah Menengah (SM) Sultan Abdul Halim, Kedah, Rabiahtul Adabiyah Ammirullah, 18, from Lahad Datu, said she had culture shock when she first set foot in Kedah.
"I experienced culture shock in terms of language spoken by the locals and it took me a year to get use to the Kedah dialect.
“The early months were a bit challenging, it always made me feel like crying, but my friends were very friendly and helpful...hanging out with the local students helped a lot,” she added.
For a former student of SMK Agama Yan, Kedah, Abdul Rahman Jesaleh, 18, from Lahad Datu, the northern dialect was indeed a barrier for him.
"The Kedah dialect is not easy to understand, sometimes I didn't even understand what the teachers were saying when they used the dialect, but over time, I got used to it,” said the third child of seven siblings.
All three of them said they were able to overcome the challenges as YS really took great care of them, not only in looking after their study needs, but also their welfare.
Meanwhile, Audrey Claire Albert, 18, from Kota Kinabalu, said YS also organised study tours and motivational programmes for its students.
"These programmes are very helpful as they got us (YS students) together and it helped built our confidence,” said the former student of SM Sains Muzaffar Syah in Melaka.
YS spends about RM7,000 a year for each of its students and the amount includes for their flight, ticket fees, pocket money, clothing and school holiday programmes.