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Inspiring Young Changemakers 2015

FEATURE
Young Changemakers Award | #children4change
Children prove that age is no barrier to being the change they want to see 



by Indra Nadchatram

Every culture has a child hero and fairy tales that tell of children who have made a difference in their worlds. Here are ten of our very own heroes in Malaysia who are finalists of the inaugural Tuanku Bainun Young Changemakers Awards 2015. Aged between 6 and 15 years old, each of these young changemakers are wonderful examples of how children too can make a difference in their families, schools and communities!

1.   The Good Samaritan

Six year-old Ahmad Alfian started following his mother to charity events since the age of three. Alfian uses his own “tabung” money to do charity: from buying maggi packs for the Kelantan flood survivors, to sponsoring school transportation for a Rohingya boy, and giving money for the Syrian refugee fund. Alfian also likes to use his savings to buy ice cream and choki-choki to give out at school and shopping malls.

2.   The Hardworker

  Eleven year-old Anilov Fabien Tingang from Baram, Sarawak risks a two hour journey to go to school in his torn shoes and old school uniform just so he can get an education and excel in life. Whenever school is not in session, Anilov spends his free time working – be it lifting bags of cement, wood or fertilizer as well as catching fish and prawns to earn some income to support his schooling so he does not burden his family.

3.   The English Teacher

Chan Hui Kie is a 14 year old student in a rural Band 5 school in Kedah which had over 200 illiterate students. Together with several Form Two schoolmates, Hui Kie started a literacy mentor-mentee initiative to teach her Form One friends how to read. Patiently and lovingly, they encouraged their mentees to read; and have successfully helped these students go from illiteracy up to 7 years in reading growth!

4.   The Chef with a Big Heart

When Choy Sze Qin, Leah was four and a half years old, she started baking to raise funds for her baby sister Adele who has brain injury. Leah who is now six years old, taught herself how to bake cupcakes by watching YouTube; and raised US$ 6,000 for her sister’s treatment. The little chef from Alor Gajah Malacca, has also raised money for the Rohingya boat people, food aid foundations and masks for the homeless.

5.   The Volunteer for the Hungry

Fourteen year-old Firdaus Ahmad Farouk from Taman Tun Dr. Ismail, Kuala Lumpur is an active volunteer for a soup kitchen to feed the hungry and homeless in Chow Kit. Firdaus has been volunteering since he was 12 to serve those in need, including mothers and children, the elderly, and people with disabilities. The young humanitarian who cites his mother as his biggest inspiration, believes it’s his responsibility to help those in need.

6.   The Cikgu Kecil (Little Teacher)

Born in Pulai Omadal, Semporna, Sabah, 15 year-old Mohd Khairul Bin Atim spends his free time making sure that the Bajau Laut children in his village are able to read and write even though they are unable to enroll in school because they lack a birth certificate. Mohd Khairul who is better known as Mastal Arikik (Cikgu Kecil), envisions a literate Bajau Laut community to preserve his village's marine ecosystem.

7.   The Environmentalist

Last year, 12 year-old Loh Shi Ya suggested to her school that they start a Recycling Club. As head of the club, she has raised awareness on the importance of recycling and implemented the 3R concept in the school and local community. The club has collected 2,000kg of solid waste for recycling; and became the National Champions of the Recycling Competition for Primary Schools in Rural Areas by the Solid Waste Corporation (SW Corp).

8.   The Believer

Fifteen year-old Muhammad Nur Ikhwan, who was abandoned by his mother at an early age never imagined he would ever leave Kedah or even get a birth certificate that'll allow him to go to school. He started kindergarten at age 10, learning to read, write and count with six year olds. He quelled his embarrassment, and dedicated himself to learning; and eventually obtained 4As for UPSR. Head of the Academic Bureau at Rumah Kasih Harmoni today; Ikhwan aspires to be a lawyer.

9.   The Musician with a Message

When his best friend Saleh got involved with drugs, 15 year-old Muhammad Raqib Hamzah knew he had to help him and became his main support system. Raqib joined Drugs Youth Free Association (DYFA) and got Saleh involved in programmes for rehabilitation. Both friends then started a music band called NO SURRENDER to spread inspiring messages to youth about a clean life free from drugs, tobacco and alcohol.

10.   The Life Warrior

Eleven year-old Nurul Amalina Firdaus has not allowed leukemia to defeat her. Currently undergoing chemotherapy treatment at the Hospital University Kebangsaan Malaysia (HUKM), she attends school at the hospital refusing to miss the opportunity to learn. Amalina submitted a journal of her daily life and hopes that her experience will help inspire her peers to not give up and to always see the brighter side of life.

In conjunction with Universal Children’s Day, Her Royal Majesty Raja Permaisuri Perak Darul Ridzuan Tuanku Bainun Binti Mohamad Ali presented each of the finalists with a Certificate of Commendation; a UNICEF backpack and a Digi-sponsored Lenovo Android 4.4 tablet with a free internet package for one year to support them with the power of the internet to create a better future for them and the cause that they are championing.

We congratulate every single one of these amazing children for their resilience, courage and humanity. Thank you for being so inspiring. And for believing.

The 10 finalists are selected from some 70 nominations received nationwide.

 

 

 

 

 

Universal Children's Day


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