It’s easy to become pessimistic about the state of education in Sabah where rural and urban schools have distinctive gaps in terms of grades, quality of school infrastructure and facilities and accessibility to schools. Additionally, with the large population of stateless communities in Sabah, education is far from being equitable and accessible to all. However, staying pessimistic is not going to move the needle. Instead, one of the best antidotes to despair is taking action.
Many NGOs and Changemakers in Sabah are understaffed or underfunded and your help will go a long way. Volunteer mentors and teachers like you, can help to spark a love to learn among the students. Whatever skills or experiences you have, you can offer it to these education organisations and you can bet your time will not be wasted. By volunteering, you can help start a positive cycle of community-building that outlasts your immediate work.
Here are 6 education organisations you can volunteer at if you’re living in Sabah or planning a trip there:
#1: Borneo Komrad
Borneo Komrad runs alternative learning centres (ALC) for the marginalised children of Sabah. The brainchild of university students and the local youths who care deeply for the underprivileged community in Sabah. The ALC was developed by the Kelab Sastera Mahasiswa (KARMA) and Suara Mahasiswa Universiti Malaysia Sabah. Located at Rumah Pangi Kampung Shahbandar, Tuaran, Sabah — classes are held during the weekends from 2 pm to 5 pm. Similar learning centres are also established in Tawau and Semporna.
Visit them here to find out more on their volunteering programs.
#2: Good Shepherd Services
The Community School Van is a project that seeks to enhance community empowerment which involves 15 villages. This enabled children living far away from the nearest secondary school, SMK Tulid, to attend classes regularly. This project also fosters the spirit of togetherness among the rural communities as they are directly involved in achieving the project’s objectives.
They are open to receiving volunteers so head on over to their website and sign up!
#3: ElShaddai Sabah
ElShaddai Sabah believes that it is every children’s right to receive education and that education can empower individuals, communities and nations. They work with displaced and marginalized communities in Sabah, providing them with education, healthcare, skills training and development to prepare them for the future. They have established learning centres in the KPD area with 5 classes for the Suluk and Bajau children. While ElShaddai provides the teaching materials and training, teachers are employed from their communities.
Support them here by volunteering as teachers to help conduct classes for these children.
#4: Etania Schools
Etania Schools is a group of schools established to help the marginalized and stateless children in Sabah. Any child without access to the national education system is taken into the school and given a complete learning program specifically for their needs. These bespoke learning programs were constructed after discussing them with the children and their families to ensure the best fit for the child. Children participating in the skills training program will receive a certificate after undergoing 100 hours of training. Besides, Etania has hosted volunteers from all around the world that assisted in the development of their educational programs.
Reach out to Etania right here to know more about their volunteering criteria.
#5: Stairway To Hope
An alternative school for Filipino children who are not able to get into public schools in Sabah, Stairway to Hope provides free education to children ages 7 to 16 years old. Since 2012, STH has offered English, Malay, Mathematics as well as Good Manners and Right Conduct classes for free to 120 children.
Visit them on Facebook here and find out about their volunteering opportunities.
#6: World Vision Malaysia
The Malaysian Assistance Fund is a donation programme organised by World Vision to support children development in Malaysia. Currently, their Community Development Programmes (CDPs) in Sabah are benefitting from this fund, particularly in Mukim Tulid and Tatalaan. This was done as a response to the needs in Sabah which led to its pilot program in 2014.
Among the challenges that were addressed included education whereby World Vision partnered with the PTA and Education Department to create workshops for both parents and students. They also organise Children’s Clubs with community volunteers to spark the interest of these children in learning and allow them to develop life skills.
Based in Sabah and want to volunteer for a cause? Click here to learn more about World Vision’s volunteering program.