Championing positive impact


Clockwise from top left) The recipients of this year’s grant from Star Foundation are MYReaders, Pikos, Tanoti and RCM.

CATALYSING impact-driven and sustainable projects for the communities and environment continues to be a key factor in driving Star Foundation’s partnership with social organisations.

Four social impact organisations, namely Persatuan Literasi Anak Malaysia (MYReaders), Pertubuhan Kebajikan Impak Komuniti Sabah (Pikos), Reef Check Malaysia (RCM) and Tanoti, received a total of RM200,000 through the Star Social Impact Grant (SSIG) to bolster their projects geared towards creating meaningful changes.

SSIG is an initiative by Star Foundation aimed at supporting social projects by NGOs and social enterprises to improve the lives of local communities and their environment.

The projects range from enhancing literacy among disadvantaged Orang Asli children, providing reliable water access to supplying maternity cloth pads to remote health facilities.

Some projects focus on upskilling communities such as equipping marginalised communities with tailoring skills, marine resource management skills for sustainable tourism and ecosystem preservation.

These projects are scheduled to unfold across various regions within Malaysia over the next 12 months, impacting over 2,000 beneficiaries directly and indirectly.

Aiding Orang Asli students

Demonstrating its commitment towards increasing access to education, Star Foundation awarded RM50,000 to MYReaders for their “Juhuk Penanei” project, also known as Knowledge Tree.

MYReaders co-founder and director of learning and development Charis Ding said the project was designed to address the issue of low literacy skills among marginalised Orang Asli children and high school-dropout rates.

“Juhuk Penanei will provide literacy resources and support through the setting up of three literacy hubs for children and teachers within Orang Asli communities in Gerik, Perak,” said Ding.

The project will equip at least 150 rural Orang Asli children with English and Malay language remedial modules and necessary support to improve literacy skills.

“We will also conduct capacity building for the teachers to ensure they are able to deliver effective language remediation in the community,” she said.

Ding traced the project’s inception to a call from local educators who highlighted the challenges Orang Asli children faced in accessing literacy education.

“The teachers are facing limited access to suitable learning resources, a hurdle that can hinder even the most dedicated educators,” said Ding.

Since 2015, MYReaders has been working with communities and schools to raise literacy among children by providing high quality learning resources and support towards the vision that every child will be able to read.

Improving water supply

Meanwhile, Pikos chairman Davylandon Rubbin said the RM50,000 under SSIG would go a long way towards realising the team’s community water solution project to improve the rural community’s livelihood.

The grant will help build a proper water collection and storage facility which will benefit about 173 individuals from 58 households in Kampung Gambir, Pitas, Sabah, freeing them from relying on erratic water supply.

“We are thankful to Star Foundation for their support to the project in addressing one of the most crucial basic necessities, water, which is fundamental to health, well-being, and economic stability within the community,” he said.

Currently, the community’s water sources mainly come from natural springs and rainwater, leaving them in a precarious situation during the six-month-long drought season.

This forces them to spend more on buying clean water from the nearby town.

In the long term, this project is expected to save approximately RM2,000 per household per year.

A dedicated committee will be formed to oversee the proper maintenance and protection of its infrastructure.

Established in 2016, Pikos is an NGO dedicated to promoting community welfare through collaborations with various entities.

Marine conservation

In line with its dedication to environmental protection, Star Foundation provided a RM50,000 grant to RCM in support of its “Building marine conservation leaders in Mersing Islands” project.

RCM chief operating officer Theresa Ng said the project would benefit 10 local youths and 700 community members.

“An important aspect of sustainable natural resources management lies in engaging the community and fostering shared responsibility for our planet’s well-being.

“Youth leadership and management skills are crucial for the lasting success of conservation efforts, especially for marine ecosystems that sustain islander livelihoods,” said Ng.

RCM had also established the Tioman Marine Conservation Group on Tioman Island, directly benefiting over 80 islanders since 2013.

Now, it aspires to replicate this on islands in southern Peninsular Malaysia.

Their conservation tasks will include installing mooring buoys, maintaining coral restoration blocks, monitoring coral bleaching, conducting reef surveys and engaging in underwater cleanups.

Ng said enhancing the knowledge and skills of local islanders would nurture a heightened sense of ownership and shared responsibility toward environmental conservation.

Pikos will use the grant to build a water collection and storage facility to benefit the rural community in Kampung Gambir, Pitas in Sabah.Pikos will use the grant to build a water collection and storage facility to benefit the rural community in Kampung Gambir, Pitas in Sabah.

Postpartum care

Understanding the importance of women empowerment and addressing period poverty in rural regions, Star Foundation granted RM50,000 to Tanoti in support of their “Reusable and washable cloth maternity pads for women in rural areas” project.

Tanoti director Jacqueline Fong said the initiative would focus on providing reusable and washable cloth maternity pads to selected health facilities in remote and rural areas of Sarawak.

“In rural areas, post-birthing costs, such as sanitary pads, often go unaddressed.

“Typically, maternity wards provide one to two disposable pads after childbirth. Afterwards, the women are left to deal with their postpartum bleeding on their own,” said Fong.

By offering reusable cloth maternity pads, this project seeks to relieve new mothers from the financial burden associated with purchasing disposable pads, while ensuring they maintain essential personal hygiene.

The project is expected to benefit some 1,000 new mothers from remote areas in Sarawak.

Fong said by embracing reusable sanitary products, these women will save on monthly expenses, which can accumulate to RM300 per person per year for disposable pads.

This project also trains over 80 unemployed home seamstresses, equipping them with the skills and knowledge to produce pads for commercial use and enabling future micro-business ventures.

Established in 2004, Star Foundation is the charitable arm of Star Media Group, which aims to deliver meaningful initiatives with lasting outcomes to diverse groups of beneficiaries.

For more information on Star Foundation’s work with the community, visit starfoundation.com.my.

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