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From yearnings to reality

SULIT, Paitan (CS) – The idea of the Pride Hostel Sulit Paitan to cater to girls and boys who have completed their primary education to continue their secondary schooling was inspired by a nun’s dream.

Franciscan Sister Dorothy Laudi dreamt about having a hostel to accommodate those students who were schooled at the eight mission kindergartens ran by the Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate Conception (FSIC) in and around Paitan.

These students live in the remote regions of the sub-district of Paitan, roughly a three-hour’s boat ride from their villages to the one and only government secondary school in Paitan, SMK Simpangan Paitan. In order to reach school by 7:00 am, they need to start off from their house by 4:00 am. Besides, transportation costs for each person per boat ride is not within their means, which is at RM6 per ride or RM45 per month.

Pride Hostel, located in Kampung Sulit, Paitan is a single-storey concrete building raised on 18ft I-beam pillars, consisting of two dormitory rooms upstairs partitioned for male and female, and kitchen, dining hall and utilities downstairs.  The construction of the building began in 2015. Fully sponsored by Sabah Credit Corporation, the RM350,000 hostel can accommodate 40 girls and 40 boys of secondary school age.

The completed hostel was handed over officially in a simple ceremony on 3 August 2018 by Sabah Credit Corporation CEO Datuk Vincent Pung to FSIC Mother General Sr Frances Mani, in the presence of former Mother General Sr Grace Deosing, hostel caretaker Sr Hilary Laudi, Daniel Kong, Sergius Ramday, and members from the Sabah Credit entourage.

At the time of handing over, the hostel has taken in 14 boys and six girls who come under the care and supervision of Sr Dorothy and Sr Hilary. The students come from no less than 45 km radius within Pekan Paitan. Most of the students were from our FSIC kindergartens located in their respective villages.

There is an existing government-owned school hostel but it cannot accommodate all the students who are in need of accommodation. With the hostel facilities concretized by FSIC in partnership with Sabah Credit, eligible students have no excuse not to further their academic studies in secondary school. Furthermore, the location of the Pride Hostel is within a 20-min boat ride and walk to SMK Simpangan Paitan and the hostel provides boat transfer.

Sr Dorothy expressed the hope that retired teachers would volunteer to come to Sulit to give tuition to those students who need strengthening particularly in their Mathematics and English Language during the school breaks. Presently, the boarders are assisted in their studies by a diploma graduate Ms Royze Rudy and Form Six student Ms Erna Germanus who opted to go back to their roots for the betterment of their peers from the remote. They also act as cook and warden, one for the male boarders and one for the female boarders, for which they are paid.  As and when the need arises, they assist in the disciplining of the students.

The social involvement of Sabah Credit Corporation in the sponsorship of a hostel for students made a difference in the lives of the poor and marginalized. The generous act of lending a hand to others must impact society as it opens the hearts of the young and teaches them to be more compassionate and active in reaching out to others in need, regardless of geographical location.

With the hostel fully operational, sourcing for funds to manage the hostel becomes a dire need. The monthly expenses to feed the boarders, to pay workers’ salaries, and other expenditure run up to a minimum of RM7,000. Contributions to FSIC for the running of the Pride Hostel are most welcome.  Person to contact is Sr Frances Mani, Loreto Convent @ 013-8586567 or 088-711991 / 727977. – FSIC

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