During the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown, educational institutions faced extraordinary challenges to continue providing lessons to students. Like in all schools, teachers and students of St. Francis’ Institution, Melaka (SFI) had to quickly adapt to new norms and switch to online lessons.
One of the greatest constraints was that many students from lower income families could not afford laptops. After some time they were falling behind their syllabus. The school Principal, Mdm Vivienne Cheong, being a Franciscan herself and who was inspired by the late Br Harold Reynolds, was determined to ensure that ‘No Child Is Left Behind’. She and her staff started an ‘e-CARE’ program. However, the school lacked funds to purchase sufficient computers.
This problem was highlighted by Br Ambrose Loke in June 2021. The Old Boys of SFI stepped forward to assist. Franciscan Club Kuala Lumpur (FCKL) took the lead to raise funds together with the Parents Teachers Association (PTA), and other Old Boys from St. Francis’ Association (SFA), Roy Sta Maria (in Perth) and SFI Class of 1977. An appeal was launched in July 2021 to Franciscans, at home and abroad, for donations to the SFI e-CARE Project.
RM118,586.96 was quickly raised through the generosity of Old Boys and well-wishers. In August and September seventy two (72) laptop computers were distributed to students. More students will be receiving laptops in the coming weeks.
Under this program the computers are on loan to students. They will be returned when the students complete their exams. The computers will then be loaned to the next batch of students in the following year. A portion of the funds will be carried forward to maintain the computers. In this way the SFI e-CARE program will be sustainable and would benefit more students in the long term.
We thank the Almighty God that by His grace SFI is blessed by the generosity of Franciscans. They are ready, ‘ever with hearts sincere’ to ‘render with joy’ to their Alma Mater her due. And, true to the La Salle creed, to care for the ‘The Last, the Lost and the Least’.
Age Quod Agis
Franciscan Club Kuala Lumpur
8 September 2021