Girl's university dream realised after story of family hardship goes viral

Last update: 03/09/2019

KUALA NERUS, Sept 3 -- A poor girl’s dream of going to university has come true -- thanks to various parties who extended her financial aid after reading her family's sad story on social media.

Nor Izra Zulaikha Ismail, 20, who registered at Universiti Malaysia Terengganu (UMT) today, said her story, which was posted on social media by a social activist, attracted the attention of many who not only helped to pay for her course fees but also her entry and preparation costs.

“I am very grateful that many people are so caring and willing to help poor people like me,” she said when met by Bernama here today.

Nor Izra Zulaikha, who earned a cumulative grade point average of 3.92 in the Sijil Tinggi Persekolahan Malaysia (STPM) 2018, said she was at her wit’s end thinking of the enrolment and tuition fees totalling more than RM2,000 and was considering of rejecting the university's offer.

The second of six siblings from Rantau Panjang, Kelantan, said her father, Ismail Samat, 47, is a farmer and her mother, Rozita Ahmad, 42, earns RM700 a month as a seamstress.

“With that kind of earnings, my parents could not afford to send me to university. That is why I thought of rejecting the offer as I didn’t want to burden my parents,” said Nor Izra Zulaikha, who will pursue a Bachelor’s degree in Management (Maritime).

Meanwhile, a student with a disability who has been selected to pursue a Bachelor of Computer Science (Software Engineering) degree at UMT, Muhammad Syahmi Shaharnizam, 20, said he wanted to prove that a special needs person like him could also succeed.

Muhammad Syahmi, who suffers from a weak left leg and is unable to walk and stand for long periods of time, also wanted to prove that he could be independent.

“Although I was worried as this is my first time away from my family, I still accepted the challenge as I realised I had to be independent. I can’t be relying on others forever,” said the student from Alor Setar, Kedah.

Meanwhile, UMT vice-chancellor Prof Datuk Dr Nor Aieni Mokhtar said a total of 2,327 students were offered to study at the university for the September 2019/2020 semester.

Of the number, 359 students are from the B40 group, six are special needs and four are Orang Asli.