28 September 2012 – The Philippine Embassy in Kuala Lumpur reported that more school-aged children of Filipino workers in Sabah may now avail of educational programs being offered by the Indonesian Children Education Awareness Foundation, an Indonesian nongovernmental organization (NGO) that runs informal learning centers in plantation estates in Lahad Datu and Tawau in Sabah.
This offer was conveyed to Ambassador J. Eduardo Malaya by the foundation's Executive Director Muhammad Firdaus Abdullah G. Atawuwur, who met with the Ambassador on September 19 at the Embassy to discuss a proposed Memorandum of Understanding between the Embassy and the foundation to formalize the arrangement.
"On behalf of the Filipino schoolchildren who will have the chance of experiencing the joys of learning and a better life, we are grateful for the opportunity extended by the Indonesian Children Education Awareness Foundation for them," Ambassador Malaya said.
There are 119 Filipino students who are currently enrolled in its different learning centers around Sabah and employs one Filipino teacher.
Upon the Embassy's request, the foundation will open their centers to more Filipino school-aged children, or up to 600 more pupils.
Mr. Firdaus also stated that that their learning centers are community-based, inclusive and welcoming all children without regard to their nationality. He stressed that education is a basic human right and should be made available to everyone, regardless of race or nationality.
Children of migrant workers in Sabah, mostly Filipino and Indonesians, have limited access to local public schools.
The Indonesian Children Education Awareness Foundation currently runs classrooms which were provided by plantation estate-owners and partly funded by the Indonesian government. It teaches basic reading, writing, arithmetic and other life skills.