for Sonsogon folk bearing fruit
24 March 2003 (Source: New Sabah Times)
Efforts to bring education closer to the Sonsogon folks
in the hilly interior of Kota Marudu have begun to bear
first clear sign of the success came when three of them
passed the Ujian Penilaian Sekolah Rendah (UPSR) last year.
trio, who are now studying in Form One at Sekolah Menengah
Kebangsaan Tandek, are believed to be the first group of
pupils among the highlanders to break the Year Six barrier.
the best of my knowledge they are the first group of Sonsogon
folks from the hinterland to pursue secondary education.
There may be others who have entered secondary school but
they are from families who have long ago left their interior
homeland and are now residing closer to towns,” Bandau Member
of Parliament Datuk Dr Maximus Ongkili said.
their path to secondary education was as long and winding
as the logging tracks which are the only means of access
to the area.
all began in 1995 when Dr Maximus highlighted the plight
of the Sonsogon people in and around Kampung Sonsogon Magandai.
year later the Sabah Journalists Association and Guinness
Effort Award Panel responded and built two simple classrooms
as part of their community programme.
a Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) school leaver was appointed
to teach the Sonsogon children to read and write.
1997, the Education Department registered the classroom
as Sekolah Kebangsaan (SK) Sungai Magandai and sent trained
teachers, but life remained tough for the pupils as they
had to walk for hours to reach the school.
rural hostel has been built for students to stay in but
because of the lack of facilities and the fact that the
pupils had to prepare meals for themselves, tapioca on most
days, not many were staying there.
Saturday, a convoy of company officials from Shell, Beras
Corporation, Sutera Harbour Resort, journalists and members
of the sports and recreation club of the Press and Publication
Office of the Chief Minister’s Department departed the state
capital to deliver contributions to students there.
Corporation is donating 900kg of rice; the press office
is giving mattresses, pillows and clothes; and the SJA and
Sutera Harbour are contributing food items and cooking utensils
delegation had an experience of how Sonsogon people were
virtually cut off from the outside world everytime it rained
when the convoy, travelling in four-wheel-drive vehicles,
had to stop upon reaching Samparita river.
having successfully negotiated the hilly terrains and slippery
roads, the mission to SK Sungai Magandai had to be called
off once they reached the rain-swollen river.
the dry season, four-wheel-drive vehicles would be able
to wade through the river with little problems. The river,
however, went a little wild Saturday and not even the best
4WDs were able to make it to the other side.
convoy, after consulting the Kota Marudu District Officer,
Jane Tan, went to SK Samparita instead and upon learning
that the pupils there were also equally in need of assistance,
they off-loaded part of the goods and donated them there
Maximus, who is Tandek assemblyman, and SK Samparita headmaster
Doris Limun, thanked those involved for the contribution.
rest of the goods would be delivered to SK Sungai Magandai
next month along with computers, printers and a solar panel