Heroes do not take a break

  • Nation
  • Monday, 24 Jun 2019

Power for the people: Tambakau (in red cap) and representatives of the association with the local community at Kampung Sonsogon Magandai for the installation of a solar panel.

PETALING JAYA: Past winners of Star Golden Hearts Award took no breaks after winning. Instead, they have gone on to do more impactful work by leveraging on the recognition and exposure received as award winners.

Suka Society, a 2018 winner, works to protect the best interest of children.

True to its name, Suka, short for “suara kanak-kanak” (voice of children), works to ensure children have access to education, even in the remote places of the country.

Since 2013, it has placed more than 25 teachers in rural schools.

“Since winning the award last year, we have started five new pre-schools in the areas of Gua Musang and Kuala Rompin, bringing our total number of Orang Asli pre-schools to 10.

“We are not just building pre-schools but bringing communities together for future generations,” said its senior manager Sarah Teo.

Meanwhile, the Sabah Women Entrepreneurs and Professionals Association has seen their women empowerment projects expand after winning the award in 2017.

Starting off with the Barefoot solar project, the association sent illiterate villagers to Barefoot College in New Delhi, India, to learn about solar energy and installation of solar panels.

In 2014, Tarahing Masanin of Kampung Sonsogon Magandai completed her training and returned to light up 100 homes in her village.

“Formerly a rubber tapper, Tarahing is now head solar engineer in her community where she repairs, assembles and maintains solar equipment.

“We hope to set up a Barefoot College in Sabah where existing ‘solar mamas’ can recruit and teach others so that more women are able to make an impact in their communities,” said Datin Jeanette Tambakau, past president of the association and also organising chairperson of the Barefoot solar project.

The team subsequently introduced the Enriche project, a socio-economic programme aimed at empowering rural women to ensure sustainable livelihood.

Beneficiaries learn to produce zero-waste products such as eco-friendly shopping tote bags, pre-loved denim bags, scarves and were also trained to harvest honey from stingless bees, or better known among the local folk as lebah kelulut.

Another 2018 winner, Masala Wheels, is a social enterprise aimed at empowering at-risk youth by teaching them food service skills.

Originally operating from a mobile food truck, the team now runs a brick-and-mortar restaurant in Petaling Jaya and provides food catering services.

In February, Masala Wheels entered a partnership agreement with a digital solutions provider to help scale up their operations and reach even more underprivileged communities around the country.

Efforts will be focused on creating an automated kitchen that will help improve food consistency and enhance their deliverables by tailoring offerings according to customer interests.

Launched in 2015, Star Golden Hearts Award, supported by Yayasan Gamuda, aims to celebrate and appreciate the unsung heroes in Malaysia.

“We are more than half-way through this year’s nomination period and have received many inspiring nominations.

“It reminds us time and time again that there are many selfless Malaysians out there, bringing a positive change to others. We encourage more people to tell us about their unsung heroes,” said chief judge Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye.

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