News Release

Latter-day Saints Provide Assistance at Stairway to Hope

A day of school isn't always met with anticipation for a child, but children at a school in East Malaysia are the exception. Each day about 220 Filipino children, ranging in age from 6 to 16, who are not able to attend a regular school are excited to attend the Stairway to Hope Learning Center each day.  Recently LDS Charities, an arm of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, provided much needed items to assist the school. 

Stairway to Hope began June 6, 2012 with a small amount of money and a big dream by Marilou S. Chin, Project Manager. After the approval of relevant authorities in Warisan and Kalansanan, district of Inanam Laut, Kota Kinabalu, an old house was located and remodeled into a school, containing 8 classrooms on two floors. When Marilou's husband first inspected the building he was aghast and said "how will we ever find the time and money to transform this place into a school?"  Yet with the approval of officials, the determination of Marilou , and help from locals a learning center has been established for children from the Filipino Community in Sabah.

The school is funded through money generated by Stairway to Hope, an NGO, and small donations from students and parents. Beginning with an enrollment of forty students, the first school year saw that number increase to seventy. The school  is now at operating at full capacity of 220. Unfortunately more students must be turned down due to lack of facilities.

Students share desks and must attend school on either a morning or afternoon schedule three days a week. LDS Charities was excited to take on the project of providing much needed items for the school to create a more comfortable learning environment for students. New desks, a PA system, chairs, wall fans, games and sports equipment will assist teachers and students in their learning experience.

Despite challenges and short school week, students are receiving the State Curriculum for their age group and successfully passing their exams. The eight volunteer teachers wholeheartedly pledge to teach the children. They receive a small allowance for food and transportation.  "I commend the dedication of the volunteer teachers who sacrifice and toil to teach the children with love and compassion.  Without them, a single hand cannot achieve many things. I would like to thank the individuals and organizations who are giving us assistance to keep us going", said Marilou, Managing Director.

Philippine Embassy Ambassador J. Eduardo Malaya said, "Once again, our Filipino community has displayed the spirit of bayanihan (cooperation) in heeding the Embassy's call in assisting our nationals' children who need education for a better life. We hope and pray that the Learning Center will prosper further and live up to its name in providing a 'stairway to hope' for children in Sabah," he said.


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