KUALA LUMPUR, 18 APRIL 2017 – “Thank you, Mr Brian for helping me see that I have a future beyond SPM.” Shawn* is one of many students sharing their stories of teachers who helped them unlock their potential, in Teach For Malaysia’s biggest fundraising campaign of the year, #EmpoweredTo Unlock MY Potential.
In a video where he illustrates his challenging start in life, Shawn recounts his journey from not being able to afford lunch in school, to finally making it into university. According to the Malaysia Education Blueprint 2013 – 2025, about 1 in 5 Malaysian students do not complete their secondary education.
According to Co-founder and Managing Director of Teach For Malaysia, Dzameer Dzulkifli, thousands of students in Malaysia come from challenging socioeconomic backgrounds where they are forced to juggle between finding their own food, looking after their parents, keeping themselves safe, and going to school.
“These are the same children that are expected to compete with city kids who had the opportunity to go to private schools, attend tuition classes, buy the best reference books and invest 100% of their attention into their own future. The harsh reality is that many of us are jaded with the thought that nothing can be done. Teach For Malaysia believes in the contrary. Every day, we do our level best to ensure that more students have the opportunity to attain an excellent education,” said Dzameer.
The campaign aims to strengthen individual donor support for Teach For Malaysia’s mission to recruit, train and support Fellows to teach in high-needs schools across the nation. A monthly donation of RM50 contributes to the resources needed to impact an equivalent of 2 students, with each Teach For Malaysia Fellow impacting an average of 150 students a year. To date, the not-for-profit organisation has impacted over 44,000 students working with the Ministry of Education and other partners.
Until 22 June 2017, all monthly donations will be matched by corporate campaign pledge partners like CIMB Islamic, OSK Foundation, Cagamas, PwC Malaysia, RBC Investor & Treasury Services, Mercedes-Benz Malaysia and UEM Group – to double the public’s impact.
At the campaign launch hosted by Teach For Malaysia’s Board of Trustees Chairperson, YAM Tunku Ali Redhauddin Ibni Tuanku Muhriz, he stressed the importance of public private partnerships and the role everyone plays in ending education inequity.
“We are enormously appreciative of our corporate partners, who have stepped forward to pledge a total of RM825,000, to match monthly donations. The success of this campaign and our movement depends on each and every one of us.”
“Education is a key enabler that not only empowers a nation, but also elevates it by promoting social inclusivity, which is crucial for equitable prosperity and progress. CIMB Islamic believes that good education should be prioritised to provide long-term value to our country, and that every child should be afforded good education as a right, not as a privilege. We also strongly support the idea of businesses and society working hand in glove to help improve the education ecosystem, to create a lasting change for Malaysia,” said Rafe Haneef, Chief Executive Officer, CIMB Islamic.
Cagamas Chief Executive Officer, Datuk Chung Chee Leong also shared the importance of education and how quality education can boost Malaysia’s growth. “We believe education is an investment in human capital, and impacts the nation’s growth and development. Cagamas is committed to play a part in the development of Malaysia’s human capital by supporting Teach for Malaysia’s mission.”
Well-known individuals have also stepped forward in support of the campaign, such as Alena Murang, Altimet, Danial Rahman and Hannah Tan.
“I believe that teachers play a very important role in building our nation and I support Teach For Malaysia’s mission to empower students across the country,” said Hannah Tan.
The campaign also features a video by Zidane, one of the students behind the local film Adiwiraku, which is based on the real-life story of Teach For Malaysia Alumna, Cheryl Fernando and her students.
Teach For Malaysia is also currently recruiting its 2018 Fellows and was named Best Graduate Programme at the GradMalaysia Graduate Recruitment Awards 2015. You can apply for the Fellowship or sign up as a monthly donor at teachformalaysia.org
*Students’ names have been changed to protect their identity.