Empowering young girls

Umayal presenting an award to Maharani Learning Lab participant Ilakiya Jayaraman, while her father looks on during the first anniversary celebration at its centre in Sungai Siput earlier in June.

IT was first started as just a three-day self-development camp, but now it is a centre that provides underprivileged adolescent girls with life skills.

The Maharani Learning Lab in Sungai Siput, which has evolved from the Maharani Camp, now serves as a centre that provides safe haven for girls aged between 11 and 16, empowering them and improving their lives.

It is a place where the girls could complete their schoolwork and assignments, taking up baking and learning domestic skills such as flower arrangement and housekeeping.

It is also a place where they can learn cultural performances such as bharatanatyam and modern dancing, along with arts and handicrafts.

The centre, which is currently accommodating 257 young women, was launched by Vijayaratnam Foundation chairman Datin Seri Umayal Eswaran last year after about six years of holding the camps.

It also held its first anniversary celebration at the centre earlier in June.

In her speech during the celebration, Umayal said education was important for one’s upbringing.

“Our culture determines our character and we learn this from our parents and community.

“We want to see more of you become more successful in school and at home and take on more responsibility,” she said.

“You have what it takes to be successful. Just believe in yourself and do unbelievable things.

“This facility is intended to nurture and groom teenaged girls in rural areas through activities and experiences that will help them acquire skills and knowledge.

“The skills and knowledge will aid their future life choices as well as support their transition from adolescent into adulthood,” she added.

Umayal presented awards to the achievers from the first two batches of the Maharani Camp while certificates were also given out by Karimah Tan Abdullah, the chief executive officer of Pintar Foundation, a subsidiary of Khazanah Bhd.

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