Alumni making an impact

(Seated, from left) Terence, June, Wong, Wang and Kuan with the alumni at the fund’s 25th anniversary celebration. — YAP CHEE HONG/The Star

In part two of our report on the 25th anniversary celebration of the Star Education Fund, the alumni share in their own words how the scholarships have made a difference

“The Star Education Fund has been a platform that opened the doors for me to many things including academic achievements, leadership experiences and friendships.

Education and scholarships have changed my life. I am determined to inspire children through education especially in art and creativity.

I am now managing Artivo School of Creativity. There are five branches throughout Malaysia and by mid-2019, we will expand by five more branches. This is to create a new trend in art education by comprehensively developing children’s multiple intelligences, cultivating their personalities as well as inspiring their creative mindsets.

I hope to contribute more to society, like how the fund has changed my life. Thank you so much. It really means a lot to me.”

Datin Tew Lee Sin

“I was a two-time recipient of the Star Education Fund — to do A-Levels and a Bachelor of Science in Actuarial Studies.

I was thankful for the bond-free scholarships as they enabled me to study and also eased my family’s financial burden. Fulfilling the minimum requirement of the scholarship was never my sole purpose as I was keen to gain memorable experiences, relevant skills and network with people.

Emcees Saidatul Maisarah Faiesall (left) and Dinesh Jayabalan who are final year University of Nottingham Malaysia students, entertained the audience with their witty repartee.
Emcees Saidatul Maisarah Faiesall (left) and Dinesh Jayabalan who are final year University of Nottingham Malaysia students, entertained the audience with their witty repartee.

I took part in extra-curricular activities as these helped to build my soft skills. I love challenges and took part in major competitions where I tasted victory and defeat.

In 2017, it was truly an amazing blessing when I successfully clinched the Sunway Extracurricular Activities Award.

To the current scholars, be unique in your own ways and success will eventually be yours for the taking. Your dedication and willingness to learn will ensure continuous growth as individuals. You have been offered the scholarship due to your capabilities. Let your burning desire to succeed be constantly ignited.”

Ahmad Aniq Mohd Nooramin Kaw

“My dad and I saw an advertisement in The Star about the Star Education Fund and I applied for it not knowing what the future held for me.

I was elated that I got shortlisted for the interview and subsequently I was offered the scholarship to study at Taylor’s University for a degree in Accounting and Finance from the University of the West of England. This degree was then a stepping stone for me to pursue further qualifications such as the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA).

Today, I am a qualified chartered accountant and corporate planner at Boustead Holdings Berhad. I drive the sustainability initiatives for the entire Group and am involved in corporate finance exercises. My dad always wanted to be an accountant and I am now able to fulfil his dream. I will be forever grateful to God and the Star Education Fund for giving me this life-altering privilege.”

Joel Dass

“I received a scholarship to study fashion and retail design from Limkokwing University of Creative Technology in 2001. I was a waitress at the time when I got the call to say I had been shortlisted. I promised myself that I would stop smoking if I got the scholarship. I’m happy to say I’ve quit smoking for almost 10 years now.

My course was fun but challenging. I’m thankful to my friends who helped provide a camera and sewing machine when I had assignments to complete. I used to rummage through the discount basket for fancy fabric for my assignments.

I managed to open a small garment manufacturing studio with friends in KL and a fashion retail shop in Melaka but I had to close them as my husband moved to Singapore and India for work. Now that we’re back, I’m hoping to open a studio designing dance and rhythmic gymnastics costumes.

I’m happy to teach anyone to sew because paying it forward is the best way to give back.

The fund represents hope to deserving students. It changed my life for the better.”

Micky Tan Bee Kee

“I was transformed from being someone in need to being someone empowered through education to be a good steward.

I realised the power of education and knowledge. I began to understand how we are all instruments created by God to make this world a better place. I was blessed with the Star Education Fund scholarship to have access to all these opportunities to grow as a person.

I moved beyond from just wanting to provide for my loved ones to caring and empowering other communities.

I had the privilege to meet Nobel Peace Prize winner Prof Muhammad Yunus during a Youth Global Social Business Summit to learn about social businesses. I later interned with a few organisations and social entrepreneurs to further develop my skills in social entrepreneurship. These precious experiences taught me the importance of how we can choose to live a life that not just seeks comfort for ourselves and loved ones, but for the communities around us.

I am the founding partner and chief operating officer of Earth Heir. It is a Malaysian premier heritage craftsmanship brand, which creates fashion and lifestyle pieces. It combines heritage artisanal skills with modern, contemporary design. I work with over 100 artisans from indigenous tribes, women’s cooperatives and women’s refugee groups.

I am convinced that as I do my part as an heir of the earth, with what I am given, I am building our communities and making our country a little better everyday.”

Wong Xiao Cheng

“This excellent initiative has helped many Malaysians like myself. The scholarship has opened up many opportunities for me since. I got the chance to meet and interact with interesting people while studying. This broadened my perspective in life as I am able to learn and experience working on projects with many experienced and wonderful individuals.

Currently I am with Convergys, the second largest Business Process Outsourcing provider in the world. I manage contact centre operations of multiple regional programmes across different verticals. Together with my teams, we have won multiple industrial awards.

The Star Education Fund scholarship has changed my life entirely. It made me believe firmly that, where there’s a will, there’s a way. This belief and the stubbornness of never giving up, drives me to achieve what really matters to me.

Taking part in a 100km ultra marathon and going on adventures to Annapurna and Everest Base Camp are some of the examples.

Thank you to the Star Education Fund and congratulations on your 25th anniversary!”

Edward Teoh

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