MSRI Sahabat Secondary Education Programme

MSRI Sahabat Secondary Education Programme

0 days

The Problem

We have close to 100 teenage refugee boys studying at our school, which is about half the number of girls. Whilst our girls' attendance remains constant and promising even for online learning sessions throughout the Movement Control Order (MCO), our boys were not regular to class.

The prolonged MCO period in Malaysia has impacted thousands of refugee families economically, many lost their sources of income doing odd jobs. Malaysia is not a signatory to the 1951 Refugee Convention, thus asylum seekers and refugees are living here without any legal framework for their protection. This means, as a transit country, Malaysia does not recognize refugees and asylum seekers access to basic needs such as formal education, healthcare, and employment.

This reality proves to be very challenging, particularly for refugees who are vulnerable group such as children, women and the elderlies. UNHCR Malaysia and CSO partners are implementing programmes to support girls and women, but little is done to support teenage boys.

Boys, once they age out will be categorized as adults with lesser protection given compared to girls of the same age group.

Teenage boys are expected to shoulder responsibilities similar to the head of the family. We observed our male students were not regular to school or not performing well during assessments compared to girls. A brief unofficial investigation was carried out to understand this new trend. The feedback is worrying because we found out that a number of our male students are made to work part-time as delivery boys or collectors of recyclable items for a few days a week even during schooling days. Families impacted by the loss of income due to the MCO need to work extra hard for their subsistence, thus teenage boys are sent out to find jobs. Given the choice between allocating some funds for children's education and buying food for the family, parents would choose the latter.

We are very concerned about our boys dropping out of school. 

The Solution

 We are exploring funding opportunities from corporate bodies and online crowdfunding platforms to support monthly tuition fees and learning materials for our boys

The funds collected will also be used for capacity building programmes for boys and parents. When girls and women are widely supported for their protection needs and wellbeing, boys aged between 16 -18 years old are considered as young adults capable of fending for themselves. This is not necessarily true particularly for those who have been missing school for a prolonged period of time,

The Impact

Secondary education will enable our male students to find better job opportunities or start something on their own, thus this gives them a better chance at building a dignified life with their families.

Goal breakdown

RM125 per student x 100 students x 3 months = RM37,500

Administration fees                                             = RM7,500

TOTAL                                                                 = RM45,000

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