Sisters raring to go back to school after 4-year hiatus [NSTTV]

BUTTERWORTH: Four years after they stopped schooling due to poverty, two sisters from Bagan Jermal here are looking forward to returning to school next week.

Met at their rented home here today, Yumn Nakyeishaa Amir Hamzah, 16, and Dahnea Dabryshaa Amir Hamzah, 14, said they were raring to go back to school.

Both of them were studying in SJK Aik Keow Telok Air Tawar here when Yumn Nakyeishaa stopped schooling in Year Six and Dahnea Dabryshaa was in Year Four.

On Monday, they will begin schooling at SMK Kampung Kastam, near their house, in Forms Four and Two respectively.

"I am so very grateful, happy and excited to return back to school after four years. I want to thank everyone, particularly Bagan Jermal assemblyman Soon Lip Chee, for making this possible.

"I have a lot of catching up to do as I will be sitting for my Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) examination next year. I want to do well in my studies, venture into real estate and change my family's fate for the better," Yumn Nakyeishaa said after both she and her younger sister received their letter of offer from state Education Department chief assistant director (planning and management sector) Datuk Zulkafli Kamaruddin.

Zulkafli was accompanied by Soon during a visit to the family's home.

The girls have 14 days to report to the school, which they hope to do so tomorrow and begin the new school term on Monday.

Yumn Nakyeishaa said in the past four years, she and her sister had studied only by themselves, relying on online exercises and such.

"It was difficult but that was the best we could do to ensure we do not miss out completely.

"I was often stressed, thinking how to go back to school. I was always thinking about my future. Finally, I have the chance again and I will not give it up for anything in the world," she added.

Dahnea Dabryshaa said she too was looking forward to going back to school.

She said it was hard to study at home with no one to help, and that she could not get much assistance from her mum due to the new syllabus.

"I was sad and jealous of my friends who get to go to school.

"When they asked me why I was not in school, I just told them that I am being home-schooled. Not everyone understands our hardship and some even laughed at us," she lamented.

The girls' mother, known only as Lisa, 54, has been confined to a wheelchair for the past year after one of her legs was amputated due to complications from diabetes.

Their father died in August last year due to Covid-19.

According to Lisa, her late husband used to work as a tour guide but had lost his job. He then took on various jobs to support his family.

"My husband would do anything and everything to put food on the table for us. But hardship and poverty forced us to stop our girls from going to school.

"There are days in the past four years where we fed our girls only porridge with salt. When we have extra money to buy flour, I would make them pancakes and plain curry.

"When my husband left us and after my leg got amputated, that was the darkest days of our lives. We thought we could never get through it anymore. We had sell all our belongings, including our car, to get by. We almost gave up," she said in between tears.

The family receives monthly RM300 aid from the Welfare Department.

Lisa said she did not know who to turn to for help for her girls.

"I have my lucky stars to thank when YB (Soon) and his team came by to offer help last month.

"With his help, my girls are finally able to return to school. I am just so relieved," she added.

Soon said he had been able to fulfil one of Lisa's two wishes, that is to send her children back to school.

"Her other wish is to get a job, which I am helping her to look for one. For now, she and her daughters are selling home-made souvenirs online but sales have not been good.

"She wants a job to be able to continue to fend for her children. I will help in whatever way possible," he said, adding that anyone who wanted to help the family could get in touch with his service centre.

Soon also presented the girls with new school uniforms, bags, shoes and other items to help them start anew.

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