A teacher salvaging books and other materials after the flood

Teacher at SK Canossian Convent salvaging materials.

Segamat, 10 July 2023: The 168 students of SK Canossian Convent in Segamat can look forward to getting back to life as usual after their school received RM35,830 worth of new furniture to replace those destroyed by the recent floods. The effort was spearheaded by the Financial Industry Collective Outreach (FINCO) Disaster Relief Programme, with the financial contribution for the new canteen and classroom furniture coming from OCBC Bank (Malaysia) Berhad (OCBC Bank).

This programme aims to further support FINCO’s goal of ensuring students experience less disruptions to their education as a result of disasters through coordinated response efforts with the financial industry. A joint initiative pioneered by the financial industry and guided by Bank Negara, FINCO’s focus is on ensuring that children in underprivileged communities are supported and receive access to opportunities that can help them achieve their life goals.

SK Canossian Convent, which was previously hit by floods in 2006 and 2011 and whose students come mainly from the B40 category, was again badly hit by a flood on 1 March 2023 with flood waters rising to as high as four feet. Initial assessments of the damage revealed the school canteen and school gate were either affected or destroyed.

After teachers from the school reached out to FINCO to request assistance with their clean-up efforts, FINCO coordinated a volunteer effort with various members of the financial industry, including OCBC Bank. During this time, FINCO further assessed the situation and worked with OCBC Bank to swiftly get the school back to being a comfortable learning environment as soon as possible by purchasing new canteen tables and chairs, and classroom furniture. In total SK Canossian Convent received 15 cupboards, 15 teachers’ tables, 15 students’ chairs, 10 pigeon hole racks, 10 canteen tables and 20 canteen benches.

SK Canossian Convent principal, Ms Mallar Selive a/p Krishnasamy thanked FINCO and OCBC Bank for the aid and said it would go a long way in alleviating the constraints faced by the school to replace all the furniture and learning equipment that were destroyed during the floods earlier this year.

“This will ensure that our students have a comfortable environment to continue learning,” she said.

According to OCBC Segamat Branch Senior Manager Ms Yeo Siew Mien, the Bank’s contribution was part of its role to support the communities around it.

“When we heard through FINCO that SK Canossian Convent needed support, we decided to step in quickly to render the necessary support to minimise the disruption. Education is important, especially during a person’s early years of life. It should not be allowed to be affected by natural disasters. We would like to thank FINCO for providing us with the opportunity to collaborate with them in this meaningful initiative,” she said.

“A safe and conducive learning environment is an integral part of access to education. Students’ surroundings can affect them subconsciously, and we want to remove any potential distraction that might hamper their performance.

“Keeping schools and classrooms safe not only protects students physically but also promotes positive learning and social behaviour,” said FINCO CEO, Clare Walker.

FINCO Chairman, Tan Sri Azman Hashim said, “Students from underprivileged communities deserve to compete on a level playing field. The financial industry plays an important role in ensuring young people have equal access to safe learning environments and quality education, and disaster relief is an area where financial institutions have been very keen to support affected communities.”