An Update on the Covid Situation in Malaysia: Assunta in Lockdown

Along with the rest of the world, Malaysia has felt the impact of coronavirus. The pandemic there has mirrored our experience in the UK. Schools were in complete lockdown from March to June. The latest lockdown started in November. As a result, the girls have missed nearly six months of school. Even when the schools were open, strict Covid-19 regulations were in operation, which meant the usual Trust activities were impossible, save for the daily lunches we provide. Consequently, the Trust’s work at the two schools has been drastically reduced. The lockdown is expected to continue well into 2021, with no clear end in sight.

Unable to attend school for long periods, the girls have faced huge challenges working from home. Accessing the internet is a major problem which makes attending on-line classes and doing homework very difficult. Many are dependent on their parents’ mobile phones, but when their parents are out or at work, the girls have no internet access. To compound matters, many parents have lost their jobs, suffered pay reductions or had their working hours reduced and as a result can no longer afford the monthly internet bills. Prolonged working from home under these conditions has been demoralising and demotivating for the girls.  Coming from poor families and very difficult living conditions, school is the only reprieve or escape for most of the girls.  Almost all the girls have expressed a strong desire to return to school.

The most difficult problem facing the families is putting enough food on the table. So, in the autumn, we decided to offer every girl on the HVT programme (approximately 80 in all) a food voucher worth roughly £26 per child. The vouchers were finally distributed to the girls and their families on Saturday, December 12th at a Covid-19 regulated event. With the outlook grim we have decided to follow this up with another voucher in early January.

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Thank You...

“I like to attend HVT tuition because it makes my family happy. I am lucky to be given a school bag, food, shoes, books and pencils. I say “Thank you” to Mr Martin. I want to pray to my God, so that God can make him happy.”

Pavitra A/P Mahendran Std 3