Education for All – Including the Stateless
“They should never feel they are a burden to their parents and that the only way they can go to school is to buy what is simply available to every documented Malaysian child for free,” she added.Maalini Ramalo of DHRRA says the initiative with RYTHM aims to ensure the education of stateless children continues uninterrupted.
‘It Will be Nice to See Our Bookshelves Empty’RYTHM is conversant in working with DHRRA on educating displaced children. The Foundation previously contributed textbooks, levy funding, and provisions like school bags and shoes to beneficiaries selected by the NGO. The idea to create the lending library emerged as RYTHM recently offered to contribute more textbooks to DHRRA. Maalini is grateful that the library will initially help 140 to 150 deserving students yearly. “We appreciate RYTHM coming forward to help some of the nearly 300 students we currently support. The children, especially those enrolled in urban schools with no allocation, need all the help they can get.” Maalini explains the initiative to families with stateless children. Maalini said the beneficiaries would be encouraged to care for the books in their possession for the next child to benefit from the following year. She is understandably excited about the initiative.
“It will be nice to see our bookshelves empty. And when the students complete their academic year with a set, we look forward to lending them to the next batch of students. We also hope the stamp listing previous borrowers motivates the next stateless child to do well in school despite their challenging circumstances.”
Ray of Hope for Dutiful, Displaced ChildrenThe notion that not all are born equal rings especially true for stateless individuals striving their hardest to be recognised. For 11-year-old *Kai, the journey to get her Malaysian citizenship has been long and arduous. “I have been trying to get my daughter’s citizenship for five years without any luck,” her father said. Several parties, including DHRRA, are trying to help us, but her application remains ‘under process.’ Also, getting her enrolled in school, in the beginning, was difficult,” he said.
Kai is appreciative of the lending scheme. “I am excited about getting the books I need for school next year. I will care for them and study harder to achieve my dream of becoming a teacher,” the Primary Five pupil said.*Sofia, 18, and *Dayana, 11, are two of four siblings born to a Malaysian father and Indonesian mother whose marriage was not legally registered. Fate dealt the family a cruel blow when their father passed, and their mother abandoned them. A Malaysian uncle has adopted them, but they have yet to become citizens. A student registers to receive the textbook aid through the RYTHM-DHRRA initiative. “Our educational journey has not been easy because of our status,” Sofia related. “At times, I did not have the necessary books during my primary and secondary years. In addition, there were times when I could not attend school because we could not afford the levy fees.” Sofia is keen to pursue tertiary education but worries about the prohibitive cost if she remains stateless. “Affordability remains an issue for our family. Although I was born to a Malaysian and we have been legally adopted by a Malaysian, I may have to pay the fees of an international student, which is higher in the country I consider my own.” She is grateful for the lending scheme that will benefit Dayana. “This initiative for my sister will help lessen our family’s burden. I hope she will not have to go through what I did.” RYTHM is accepting GOL proposals for financial grants from now until August 2022 via email at [email protected]. To learn more about the programme and how you can apply, click here. (*Not their real names)