THE story of an eight-year-old girl from Penang, Jette Joelle Darryl-Lim, who aspired to pursue an A-Level education, has found a heartwarming resolution, thanks to the generous support of Persatuan Kebajikan 88 Kapten Pulau Pinang, better known as 88 Captains.
Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow, in a way, played a pivotal role in turning her dream into reality when Jette’s mother, Lim Sha-Lyn, sought his assistance during a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) event held at the Han Chiang High School recently.
Chow said the meaningful initiative began with an email from Datuk Dr Sharom Ahmat which drew his attention to the exceptional potential of a deserving young child seeking assistance to advance her education.
After the child’s mother had reached out to him, Chow said he decided to refer the case to the esteemed 88 Captains organisation, known for their philanthropic efforts.
“The path to A-Level studies presented a significant financial hurdle, particularly for a single mother without permanent employment,” Chow said before witnessing the cheque presentation at Komtar today.
“I am filled with profound happiness in facilitating this initiative and expressed my sincere gratitude to Datuk Seri Dr Ooi Eng Hock, chairman of 88 Captains, and Dr Ngoo Seong Boon, a committee member of 88 Captains and chairman of Penang Care Society, and members of the 88 Captains, for stepping forward to fund the full GBP1422 programme fee required, totalling RM8,350.
“This is an opportunity that will help the child grow and learn at her own pace. It stands as an inspiring testament to the way a community can unite to empower a young individual to realise her potential and contribute to a brighter future.
“Sha-Lyn shared her initial plan of Jette entering a local college for A-Level studies following her outstanding performance in the International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) exams.
“However, due to various challenges, notably her tender age of eight, she encountered obstacles in joining the local colleges. Undeterred, she persisted in her pursuit of knowledge.
“Despite her age falling below, the typical threshold for A-level studies, she showcased exceptional aptitude and met all prerequisites.
“Her steadfast commitment and self-driven approach to achieving her personal goals were evident. Importantly, her mother ensured a balanced approach to education, allowing her to engage in enriching activities with her peers while avoiding undue academic pressure.”
Dr Ooi expressed his association’s gratitude to the chief minister for the opportunity to help those in need, particularly in nurturing future talent for Penang.
He said following an urgent meeting, they raised RM150,000 and formed a task force to systematically evaluate and support special cases like Jette’s.
“In addition to financial aid, 88 Captains will collaborate with other NGOs like Penang Care Society, Kiwanis, Tech Dome etc. to enhance students’ soft skills and overall improvement.
“Let us grow our talented people in Northern Corridor,” Dr Ooi said.
Dr Ngoo pledged to arrange STEM classes and provide chess training, and soft and communication skills for Jette.
The other 88 Captains’ members who attended the cheque presentation were secretary Datuk Jimmy Ong Chin Keng, legal advisor Patricia Chung Wei Leng, and committee members CK Lau and Dr Yeap Gim Ean.
Sha-Lyn expressed her gratitude to Chow and 88 Captains for all their unwavering support and encouragement.
She revealed that her desperation arose after her daughter was initially promised a full scholarship and a place for A-Levels at a local college, only to be rejected later.
“So, this financial aid has come as a big relief for us. My daughter will pursue distance learning from an online platform based in the UK for her A-Levels,” Sha-Lyn told Buletin Mutiara.
According to Sha-Lyn, Jette started to read on her own when she was a year old, and was tackling kindergarten Grade 1 workbooks by the age of two.
She later enrolled her daughter in a Tamil primary school. Unfortunately, her daughter was later expelled for zero attendance, as she opted not to be vaccinated due to her immunocompromised status.
Nevertheless, Jette remains steadfast in her passion for learning and other activities such as violin and cello, and YouTube videos on science, especially on genetics. She is also actively involved in athletics under the coaching of former Olympian P.L.B.S. Peyadesa.
Currently, she is crazy about solving the Rubik’s Cube.
Story by K.H. Ong
Pix by Law Suun Ting
Video by Darwina Mohd Daud