US Ambassador visits NTA Refugee School in Penang

A day after US Independence Day, the US Ambassador to Malaysia, Her Excellency Kamala Lakhdir, took time from her busy schedule to visit the NTA Refugee School at The Lighthouse, Penang.

Present during the Ambassador’s visit to the school was the Bishop of Penang, Rt Rev Sebastian Francis, the New Thessalonian Apostolate (NTA) Executive Committee, members of the board of the Penang Office of Human Development (POHD) and The LightHouse administration.

The Ambassador viewed the classrooms, canteen, training centre and facilities provided by LightHouse for the NTA School as well as other Lighthouse facilities which include the Feeding Centre for the poor and homeless. She was also briefed on the various other programmes that were available at the LightHouse.

The students were delighted when the ambassador took the time to chat with them on topics which included school life and sports.

Marianne See, NTA’s Director of Internal Affairs, who led the tour, explained to Ambassador Lakhdir that the idea for the school was conceived when a group of refugee parents approached NTA and informed them that over 70 children in Penang had no access to education. This plea prompted NTA to look into ways to address this plight and resulted in their collaboration with The LightHouse.

This is the second time that the ambassador has visited NTA-run facilities. Her Excellency had, in January this year, visited the NTA School for Refugee Children and the NTA PieceWorks Training Centre in Alor Setar, Kedah.

The tour ended with lunch during which the ambassador discussed extensively with Bishop Sebastian and the NTA and POHD teams on the plight of the refugees and the many possibilities of future collaborations. This was the first time that Ambassador Lakhdir and Bishop Sebastian had met.

The ambassador thanked NTA and the Catholic Church for opening their second refugee school. She was happy to see that NTA was growing and that their good work to serve the refugee communities was being supported. She also expressed her gratitude and thanked Bishop Sebastian for his continuous support towards addressing the plight of the refugees in northern Malaysia.

Speaking about the ambassador’s visit, NTA’s Director of External Affairs, Sherril Netto said, “NTA has had a good working relationship with the US Embassy and Ambassador Lakhdir ever since we won the Julia Taft Award from the US State Department in 2016 for our work in Alor Setar.”

Echoing similar sentiments was NTA Director-General, Dave J. Kameron, “We are grateful and honoured that our work is recognised and supported at an international level. We look forward to continuing working with Ambassador Lakhdir and her team.”


Article reproduced from Herald Malaysia online

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