Even before the Covid-19 pandemic took Malaysia by storm, a large number of our nation’s children was living in a state of digital poverty, with no access to digital devices and the internet.
But when the pandemic hit in March 2020, millions of children from vulnerable communities in Malaysia – those from families under the B40 category, Orang Asli children, refugees, and persons with disabilities (PWDs) - were left behind when classes transitioned online.
That's why we launched 1MillionDevices.my on October 12th, 2021. 1MillionDevices.my is a nationwide campaign by UPLIFT to bridge the digital divide in education by equipping every marginalised school-going child with a digital device. This isn’t about tech, it’s about giving these children an education and a fair chance in life.
Are our children losing out?
As of November 2020, approximately 1.7 million students nationwide had no access to digital devices to participate in their online classes, and this figure is expected to have increased over the last year with more families falling into the B40 category.
When speaking to parents who fall under this category, Team UPLIFT learned that many of these children were participating in their online classes, using their parent’s smartphones. To make matters worse, these children would sometimes have to share their parents’ smartphones with their siblings resulting in them missing their own classes, setting them back from their peers. Using data connection as opposed to Wi-Fi, also resulted in unstable internet connection.
At the end of the day, these children were not getting adequate access to their online classes. The lack of proper devices to help them study, and good access to internet connection has put them at a disadvantage, and this will negatively impact their future.
How you can help
To date, a few NGOs have collaborated with 1MillionDevices, namely Persatuan Perkhidmatan Masyarakat Ceylonese Selangor dan Wilayah Persekutuan (PERMA), Women of Will (WOW) and MMICare Association, and digital devices were also handed out to needy students from schools throughout Malaysia.
We hope that with your generosity and kindness, and with inclusive collaborative partnerships of private and government companies, we can continue to provide children in need with the necessary tools needed to access their right to education.
Click here to partner with 1MillionDevices.