Despite the many challenges faced by Accelerating Learning Programs (ALPs) students and their families during this pandemic, I am grateful for God’s blessing and provision in addressing their basic needs. Through the generosity and effort of Acts Teens in donating 30 brand new Chromebooks, and the selflessness of ElShaddai teachers and management, we were able to illustrate God’s love and care to the refugee community in tangible ways.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, only ~60% of ALPs students have been attending online classes due to the lack of devices and poor internet connection. In most families, siblings share one handphone for their online classes. When their online classes clash, they take turns attending classes. Because some students use their parents’ phones, they cannot attend online classes when their parents go to work.
Recently, we completed online Oral Assessments for the 85 ALPs students who attended classes regularly. To get better internet connections, one of the students had to go to his neighbour’s house, whilst another sat in his dad’s car for privacy and internet stability. Students frequently go all around the house, finding the right spot for a good and stable internet connection. Their difficulties and struggles in adapting to online studying during the pandemic are great and real, greatly affecting their learning.
The 30 Chromebooks donated by Acts Teens have significantly impacted 30 students’ lives! During the Chromebook presentation, some of the students shared that they were too excited and could not sleep the night before. As most of them were having difficulties with their devices, they really do treasure the Chromebooks and I am sure that this has boosted their enthusiasm to learn and continue to persevere despite the various hardships faced.
Besides addressing ALPs students’ learning difficulties, I am grateful that we are ministering to the students’ families’ physical and emotional needs. Since the beginning of the year, Elshaddai Social Concern has donated food and basic supplies to 30 to 40 students’ families.
A few weeks ago, an 11 years old student lost his father to COVID-19 after admission and intubation at Klang General Hospital for 10 days. As a foreigner, his mother had to pay RM3,000 for the hospital bill before his body can be released for burial.
She called and cried because as a housewife and her husband being jobless for the past four months, she has no money to pay for the hospital bill. Elshaddai Social Concern gave her RM500 for her immediate expenses and we collected love offerings from ALPs teachers and ElShaddai staff. Two of the teachers went to the hospital to negotiate and upon learning that they are from ElShaddai, an NGO that helps Refugees, the hospital amazingly waived the entire medical bill! Praise God! After 2 weeks of his mother going to and forth to the Bangladesh Embassy to settle all necessary documents, the body was finally released for burial. There was also another 16-year-old ALPs student who lost her mother to Covid 19 after she was in a coma for a week before passing away. Similarly, ALPs teachers, Pam and Charles reached out to the families and we supported them financially. A big thank you to ALPs teachers**, Pam and Charles who walked alongside both families and went above and beyond in helping them**. The mother is truly grateful to ElShaddai Refugees Learning Centre for giving her financial and moral support during the darkest period of her life. We will continue to support her and the other families in whatever ways we can.
My heart glows with warmness to know that I am part of ElShaddai Refugees Learning Centre and I have a team of teachers with big hearts and are compassionate towards the Refugees.
– Contributed by Ajunta (ALPs Headteacher)