Things are looking up for the underprivileged children of Sekolah Bimbingan Jalinan Kasih (SBJK) in Chow Kit Road, Kuala Lumpur. Top local TV personality, Datuk Aznil Hj Nawawi is lending his name to help the school for disadvantaged kids. His appointment as the goodwill ambassador for SBJK was announced by the Education Ministry Director-General, Tan Sri Dr Khair Mohamad Yusof at a press conference here. (Pix by AHMAD IRHAM MOHD NOOR)

PUTRAJAYA: Things are looking up for the underprivileged children of Sekolah Bimbingan Jalinan Kasih (SBJK) in Chow Kit Road, Kuala Lumpur. Top local TV personality, Datuk Aznil Hj Nawawi is lending his name to help the school for disadvantaged kids.

His appointment as the goodwill ambassador for SBJK was announced by the Education Ministry Director-General, Tan Sri Dr Khair Mohamad Yusof at a press conference here.

"As a successful celebrity, Datuk Aznil has got his own following. But it is his passion and commitment to helping the needy that made him perfect for the job," said Khair.

To Aznil, who is fondly known as Pak Nil in the Malaysian entertainment scene, SBJK has a special place in his heart because the old school was his alma mater.

"I believe this is my calling. I volunteered to help because it was my primary school back in 1969," Pak Nil recollected.

"Back then, it was known as the Princess Road School. I completed my Standard Six in 1974 and never had the chance to visit the school again because I was too busy with my career."

However, Pak Nil found himself at his old school two years ago.

"I suddenly had this urge to check out my school. So I drove there and saw that the name had changed to SBJK," he said.

He was curious but the gates were locked. "Fortunately, the guard was kind enough to let me in because he said he was a fan of mine."

The rest as they say, is history. Pak Nil has since, worked closely with the school's administrators in highlighting the plight of the 150 marginalised children, aged between four and 19.

Their plight has even caught the attention of the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

Najib personally visited SBJK in June last year and announced a special allocation of RM30mil to upgrade the school's facilities, including building a hostel for the children.

For Norsyahireen Abdullah, 17, SBJK had given her a much needed second-chance in life.

When her family faced a major hardship, she had to drop out of school at the age of 10. She ended up in an orphanage until today.

"The school gives me hope that I can still pursue my dream as a singer. I'd love to meet and become as popular as singer-songwriter Yunalis Zara'ai (popularly known as Yuna to her fans).

"I have access to musical instruments in SBJK and I play the guitar," she said, adding that she also loves listening to popular singer Alif Satar's songs.

Norsyahireen also expressed her dream that one day she will produce her own album.

Equally happy in SBJK is Nur Shafiqah Ameera Balqis, 12.

Born without proper documentations, Balqis said SBJK is her best hope for a good education.

"I couldn't go to school before this because I do not have proper documents," she said.

"But SBJK has made schooling easy for me. My teachers are nice and very caring. They always try their best to help me."

The shy girl aspires to be a doctor when she grows up.

For Nur Afif Bin Hussaidi, 17, SBJK has given him a unique learning experience.

The school prefect, who dreams of being an entrepreneur when he grows up, had to drop out of school after his mum moved his family from Bintulu to KL.

"I personally applied to study in SBJK. This school is great because we don't have to wear school uniforms. The teachers are nice and helpful. Pak Nil even helps us with our tuition classes."