Muhammad Afiq Aiman would have ended up selling roti canai along the roadside in Kelantan with his parents, had it not been for the kindness and compassion of Cikgu Shimah.
Because of her, he is on his way to obtaining his Bachelor’s Degree in Science Education and become a Science and Maths teacher.
Norashimah Abdul Rahman is a teacher at SMK Putri Saadong in Kelantan where Afiq studies and was among winners of the recent Anugerah Guru Inspirasi McDonald’s.
Afiq was transferred to the school in 2017 after his PT3 examinations and Cikgu Shimah was his History teacher.
He got a taste of her kindness when he was first asked to undergo further tests for Thalassemia at the Gunong health clinic, which is a 15-minute drive away from his school.
Afiq said he did not have transport and when Cikgu Shimah heard about his predicament, she willingly volunteered to drive him to and fro.
Till he completed his SPM, she would take him to and from the clinic every three months and also offered him rides home after his night classes.
Otherwise, he would have had to walk 20km each way.
Apart from the transport, the teacher also helped him and other students with occasional pocket money and brought students from low-income families to eat at the canteen.
Afiq once asked her why and all she said was “the sustenance we get from Allah is not only meant for ourselves, but also for everyone”.
After his SPM, Afiq decided to repay Cikgu Shimah’s kindness and volunteered to help at the school library.
Afiq was then offered a place at the Kelantan Matriculation College after his SPM results, but unfortunately, his parents told him they were unable to afford it.
He discussed the matter with his father and after being told they could not afford it, he was prepared to forget his dreams and help with the roti canai stall.
One day, he shared his disappointment with Cikgu Shimah at the library.
To his surprise, when he met her again at the library a few days later, she handed him an envelope with enough money for his admission fees.
She told him to study hard and one day help his family.
He said at that time, he noticed one of the two gold bracelets around her wrist were missing.
About a year later, after matriculation, Afiq went back to his hometown and again helped Cikgu Shimah at the library.
Soon after that, he got news that he was offered the chance to pursue his Bachelor’s Degree at Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris in Perak.
Once again, one day at the library, Cikgu Shimah handed him another envelope.
Thinking it was some library documents, Afiq opened it and found there was enough money to cover his tuition fees and textbooks.
He said he began crying in front of Cikgu Shimah. Apparently without his knowledge, the teacher had approached the school authorities for donations to help Afiq.
“This was donated by the school. Study hard,” she said.
At that point, Afiq also realised another gold bracelet on her wrist was also missing.
Till today, he said Cikgu Shimah still calls him to check on his progress and even sends him small allowances to help him out.
Apparently, she also offered to drive him to the university but he refused. He realised Cikgu Shimah was making regular trips from school to the hospital for some medical treatment.
Afiq said he had wanted to ask her about her bracelets, but did not dare.
It was not until much later that the teacher confirmed that she had sold or pawned them to help him.
“Its okay. It was for your education,” was all she said.
Well done, Cikgu! A truly inspiring and wonderful teacher indeed.