YTL Foundation working with YTL Communications, is giving away free mobile phones under its Learn from Home Initiative. This is offered to families in the B40 community with children in government schools who do not have smartphones or other smart devices.

"The global scale and speed of the current educational disruption is unparalleled and, if prolonged, could threaten the right to education," UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay.

Being physically away from schools and daily teaching and learning routines during this time period is impacting the education sector exponentially. Public school teachers have been progressively transitioning teaching and learning online to be safely conducted in the comfort of homes despite the initial learning curve.

Unfortunately, there has always been a gap in education when it comes to disadvantaged societies - namely those coming from low income households, families in rural areas etc whereby many students are ill-equipped by not having proper and sufficient learning tools for current learning routines.

YTL Foundation to Give Away Free Mobile Phones

As of 7th April 2020, YTL Foundation announced that it is giving away free mobile phones under its Learn from Home Initiative. Working with YTL Communications, YTL Foundation is offering free mobile phones to families in the B40 community with children in government schools who do not have smartphones or other smart devices. Each mobile phone will come with a prepaid YES 4G SIM card and a 12-month data plan with 120GB of data in total.

This additional initiative is inspired by a single mother in need

Image by Pok Rie

The Learn from Home initiative launched two weeks ago and is a collective effort by YTL Foundation, YTL Communications and FrogAsia. Part of the initiative includes free YES 4G SIM cards from YTL Communications to students in government schools and staff has been working around the clock to fulfil the applications for the free YES 4G SIM card. Despite the rush, colleagues noticed a submission of a single mother living in a fishing village in Labuan.

The application included a photograph of three small children, a boy and two girls holding their father’s death certificate. The children’s mother had sent the photograph with her application as she was unsure if her children were entitled to the free SIM cards since her husband had passed away. Like many others in her village, she had recently lost her job due to the Movement Control Order.

Moved by her plight, YTL Foundation gave her a free phone and SIM card. We recognise that there are many Malaysian families who are largely unseen, who struggle to make ends meet and who are hardest hit during this Covid-19 crisis and want to help. To ensure that we are giving these devices to the families that need it most, we hope government school teachers are able to volunteer help by identifying B40 students on the family’s behalf.

[Editor’s note: Teachers were asked to suggest as many students through a nomination form, which was closed at the end of the campaign]

Information shared will be kept private

Before nominating, we advise teachers to contact the parents and students involved and obtain the consent of the parents and information required for the submission of the nomination. The information will be kept strictly confidential.

Education is a group priority

The core of what we do is impacted by our experiences growing up and it is our calling to pay forward the care given by teachers during the time we needed it most.

Puan Sri Sherina Aris, a former teacher and wife of YTL Foundation Trustee Tan Sri Aris Othman said,

“I fully agree that teachers are best placed to evaluate the needs of the students in their class. I grew up in an extremely poor family, and it was my teachers who helped me finish my education. I had become anaemic from lack of nutrition and it was a teacher who noticed this and sent me to a doctor and found sponsors for my school fees. The other teachers chipped in to make sure I had enough daily nutrition. As a former teacher and someone who has experienced the kindness of teachers, I believe you can trust that teachers have the wellbeing of their students at heart.”

Working very closely with teachers across Malaysia for 8 years now, we are aware that they are front liners when it comes to helping needy students in their classes, often volunteering their own time and resources to help these students. We hope teachers are able to fill up the application form so that we can help reach out to help the families in need.

Tan Sri Francis Yeoh Sock Ping, Chairman of YTL Foundation:

“My mother was a teacher and we grew up seeing her dedication to her students. She would give extra classes to her weaker students every day after school, but not before feeding them as she knew that many would not be able to afford a decent midday meal. We salute all teachers and we trust them to help us ensure that their most needy students will receive the free mobile phones.”
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