Early childhood educator Nelvianna Masandul used to work at Tadika Tabung Harapan in Kampung Ungkup, Pitas, ranked the poorest district in Sabah.
The kindergarten is open to children from Kampung Bongkol, Kampung Ungkup and Kampung Gumpa.
Nelvianna and other volunteers from Sidang Injil Borneo (SIB) church used to drive their own cars to pick up children and send them back home after lessons.
But one problem facing those working with SIB church, which runs over 100 kindergartens, is Internet connectivity.
Nelvianna, who is now based in Kota Kinabalu to help coordinate and streamline SIB’s kindergartens, said she feels for 18-year-old Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) student Veveonah Mosibin (main image).
Veveonah, from Kampung Sapatalang in Pitas, gained fame on June 13 when she uploaded a video to YouTube showing how she had to climb a tree to get a strong Internet connection to sit for online examinations.
However, since last week, she has been “attacked” by Deputy Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Zahidi Zainul Abidin and Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Abdul Rahim Bakri who claimed she faked the incident to seek popularity.
Following the criticism, Veveonah has gone offline. Several other politicians have come to her defence, claiming she has been a victim of cyberbullying.
Sabah’s former tourism, culture, and environment minister Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun, who is now UMS board of directors chairman, had yesterday confirmed that Veveonah Mosibin sat for examinations in June.
“I don’t know Veveonah, but I do know that the struggle to get a good Internet connection is real,” said Nelvianna.
“Even if there were no online examinations at the time of her video, it doesn’t change the fact that Internet connectivity is a problem.
“She could have been researching something for an exam – a student is always learning.
“I really feel for her. These deputy ministers are attacking a poor girl for highlighting an important issue.”
Nelvianna wondered how many students in the rural areas were able to attend online classes during the Movement Control Order.
“That is what the people in charge should be looking at instead of attacking a teenager.”
Nelvianna added when she was teaching at Tadika Tabung Harapan, there was no such thing as online classes. She even had a problem getting information online for her classes.
“I had to buy data from the mobile phone company and hoped to get a good enough signal to gain access to the Internet. It was hard at times … downloading some information took forever.”
Nelvianna hoped the powers that be will help those in the rural areas enjoy better Internet connection.
“Otherwise, they would be left behind,” she added.