Crowdfunding campaign launched to get teacher dirt bike to reach Orang Asli students

Crowdfunding campaign launched to get teacher dirt bike to reach Orang Asli students
Teacher Ahmad Saidin Mohd Idris tackles tough road conditions on his way to and from school. Photo: New Straits Times
Published: 11:20 AM, May 19, 2017
Updated: 2:51 PM, May 19, 2017

KUALA LUMPUR — A Pahang teacher riding hours through muddy tracks to reach his Orang Asli students may get a scrambler or dirt bike if fellow Malaysians pitch in for a newly-launched fundraising campaign.

Mr Hazim Nordin, 39, said he launched the online crowdfunding campaign on Thursday (May 18) and hopes to achieve the target of collecting US$2,500 (S$3,481) within a month for teacher Ahmad Saidin Mohd Idris.

Mr Hazim said he started the campaign after reading a news report on the teacher — who travels for hours daily — to reach the SK Lenjang school in Lipis where 456 students from 17 Orang Asli settlements study.

“I saw the photo. I think he was just using a small motorcycle, I think we call it kapchai, using that through hilly wet and muddy road and travelling every day for 135km. I believe the scrambler could help him to go through that kind of road, just to make it tolerable,” he told Malay Mail Online when contacted today, referring to the motorcycles that are better suited for such terrain.

Mr Hazim said all the funds collected through the Indiegogo crowdfunding site will be disbursed directly to the teacher as the legal beneficiary named, even if the campaign falls short of its target by June 17.

As for the funds raised, Mr Hazim said it would be up to Mr Ahmad Saidin to decide how to use it — whether to buy a scrambler, or to split it between such a motorcycle and to use it for the students’ benefit or to use it completely on the students.

“I don’t think our community minds that,” he said, adding that he believes the teacher would know what best to use the funds on.

“I think people appreciate the effort that’s being put in by this teacher and fellow Malaysians are talking about it, they empathise with the teacher, they see his struggle in getting education to students,” he also said.

Mr Hazim said he had saw other netizens proposing on news site or on online forum site Reddit to buy a scrambler for Mr Ahmad Saidin, and decided to help Malaysians move beyond words of empathy to take action with the aid of technology.

“I see an opportunity to use Indiegogo to help a good cause and I’m not seeing much of technology being used to help out. We believe in certain causes, we empathise with good stories, but we are not doing much to help them out,” the Cyberjaya-based software developer said.

Mr Hazim sees his role as merely a coordinator, saying that he would also have donated if someone else had started the fundraising campaign.

“Really hope that we have a culture to move things, to take action when we see the opportunity to help.

“We don’t need to put in much money to help one person, we can get people to collectively unite on certain issues, we can actually do more as a society, work together. It’ll encourage good values among Malaysians,” he said, adding that hitting the collection target would be an opportunity to showcase Malaysians’ generosity and “golden heart”.

Mr Hazim said that there is no specified fixed amount for contributions, believing that it was possible for US$2,500 goal to be reached even with everyone donating just US$10 or US$20 each.

By 11am on Friday, 14 people had pitched in US$442 for this cause on the Indiegogo website.

Mr Ahmad Saidin received widespread attention when the story of his daily travels of two hours over 135km of uneven hilly roads just to reach the rural school was highlighted by local paper New Straits Times (NST).

On Thursday, Mr Ahmad Saidin was reported saying that he prefers that the public channel aid to his Orang Asli students instead of spending it on him and that he did not feel it was burdensome to ride to the school.

He told NST that he has a four-wheel-drive (4WD) vehicle that he uses to ferry teachers in and out of the school on Fridays and Sundays, but prefers not to use it daily as he may have to incur hundreds of ringgit on repairs due to potholes on the roads.

He said resurfacing the road would help cut travel time, noting that an alternative road which would have saved teachers up to 30 minutes in travel time was no longer feasible as the river on that route has become too deep for 4WD vehicles. MALAY MAIL ONLINE