Driving positive changes


(From left) PSPK president Henry Sandanam, FAF founder Rick Chee, Star Foundation trustee Datuk Yeow Wah Chin, Chor, Star Foundation trustee Datuk Dr Mohd Aminuddin Mohd Rouse, Lightup Borneo volunteer Yeo Eng Keang and Sunny at the cheque presentation. – AZHAR MAHFOF/The Star

PETALING JAYA: Star Foundation continues to partner with social organisations to carry out impact-driven projects to better the lives of local communities and the environment. Through Star Social Impact Grant (SSIG), a total of RM180,000 worth of grants was awarded to four non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in support of their social projects.

The recipients are Lightup Borneo, Food Aid Foundation, Kelab Bolasepak Pan-Disability and Association of Social Services and Community Development of Gombak District, Selangor.

The supported projects range from providing stable electricity to off-grid communities, equipping vulnerable communities with food handling, culinary and entrepreneurship skills, to using football as a social development tool for people with disabilities.

The projects will be carried out for a duration of up to 12 months and is set make a life-changing difference for over 200 people in various locations.

SSIG is an initiative by Star Foundation aimed at supporting social projects by NGOs and social enterprises to better the lives of local communities and the environment we live in.

In the recent SSIG mock cheque presentation ceremony which took place at Menara Star in Petaling Jaya, Star Foundation and Star Media Group chairman Tan Sri Chor Chee Heung conveyed his appreciation to the NGO partners committed to addressing community issues that were prevalent in society.

“Star Foundation firmly believes in private-civil society partnerships and sees social organisations as our valued partners in delivering sustainable, meaningful and impactful initiatives to make Malaysia a better place,” he said.

“For both Star Media Group and Star Foundation, this is our way of putting our resources and influence to good use and to channel support where it is needed the most. We look forward to being part of these purposeful projects for the benefit of needy communities,” he added.

Lighting up villages

Ong Boon Keong, national coordinator of Lightup Borneo, expressed his appreciation to Star Foundation for the RM50,000 grant to provide stable electricity supply to rural areas in Sabah using hydro generators.

“Thank you to Star Foundation for awarding us this grant, not only for one village but two. This will enable us to light up two remote villages in Sipitang, Sabah.

“Once completed, 100 villagers will have access to constant electricity supply to help in their daily work, children’s education and going about their day-to-day,” said Boon Keong.

To date, Lightup Borneo has implemented more than 30 hydroelectricity projects over the last eight years of their operation.

Boon Keong believes that lack of access to electricity is not a regional issue but a global challenge.

“With hydro generators, high pressure water in rivers flow from a large diameter PVC pipe to rotate a turbine wheel and finally, generates electricity.

This standalone power station provides a cost-effective way of delivering electricity.

“This also hastens electricity coverage and gives local communities better control over their power supply.

“We will continue until we and other like-minded groups can light up every home in Malaysia,” he added.

Improving livelihood via F&B

As a food bank, Food Aid Foundation (FAF) has been rescuing food and serving them to needy communities since 2013. The people behind the NGO believe that they can do much more than solely providing one-off meals.

With the RM50,000 grant received from Star Foundation, FAF will be running the Gerak-Rezeki F&B Entrepreneur Development (GFED) programme to equip marginalised communities with food handling, culinary and entrepreneurship skills. The participants will also receive dedicated coaching to empower them to generate income independently.

“We are truly honoured to be a SSIG 2022 recipient. Thank you, Star Foundation, for giving us the opportunity to expand our F&B skills empowerment programme,” said FAF chief executive officer Dr Dalphine Ong.

“We have seen individuals and families being trapped in poverty for years due to lack of knowledge about career prospects in the F&B industry and limited access to learning opportunities.

“This GFED programme can provide them with knowledge, vocational and business skills, offering them job or entrepreneurship opportunities in the F&B sector,” she highlighted.

The programme targets people from marginalised backgrounds such as the B40 group and single parents besides retrenched workers and unemployed individuals. It consists of a food-handling course, 10-week culinary as well as food-and-beverage business skills training.

“Participants will also be provided with two-month coaching and mentorship to help them in conceptualising, testing and marketing their food products through food truck, hawker stall or online platforms upon course completion,” said Dalphine.

“Job placement opportunities in the F&B industry are also available for the participants should they need some practical skills prior to pursuing the entrepreneurship path,” she added.

FAF estimates that 50 people will benefit from the food-handling course, among whom 10 qualified participants will be selected to enrol in the culinary and food-and-beverage entrepreneurship skills course.

Sports for all

Kelab Bolasepak Pan-Disability focuses on empowering people with disabilities through the power of sports.

The RM30,000 grant received by the NGO will be used to support the “Football as a Social Development Tool for People With Disabilities” project, which Kelab Bolasepak Pan-Disability has been running since 2011.

“This project uses football to promote inclusion, physical well-being and mental health,” said Sunny Shalesh, president and technical director of the organisation.

“We structure our training sessions in a safe but fun environment to give these special needs children the right to play alongside others,” he elaborated.

He believes that the grant will enable his team to reach out to more beneficiaries.

“A number of teachers from special needs classes in government schools contacted me and hoped that I would extend my coaching programme.

“This grant will enable our club to establish satellite training centres in schools, organise coaching education workshops for teachers, parents as well as volunteers, and eventually produce more talents in sports,” said Sunny.

“We have successfully built an ecosystem that emphasises talent identification and grassroots development programme for 10 classifications of disability football as well as act as a feeder to the national elite teams, especially in blind football and amputee football,” he said.

He expressed gratitude for the grant and said that he would be able to continue impacting more individuals.

“I am elated to be one of the recipients of this grant. Star Foundation has proven to be a valuable partner to our club in the mission to build communities and empower the disabled through football,” Sunny added.

PSPK’s baking class teaches a trade skill to women and youth from urban poor communities.PSPK’s baking class teaches a trade skill to women and youth from urban poor communities.

Baking better communities

Association of Social Services and Community Development of Gombak District (PSPK), Selangor, assistant executive director Keerthana Rajaderan said the RM50,000 awarded to the organisation would go a long way for them to empower women and youth.

Through its “Bakery Skill Training & Entrepreneurship for Women & Youths” project, PSPK aims to enable the targeted beneficiaries to lead sustainable lives.

“The project focuses on the community development pillar by addressing issues of social imbalance and economic disparities.

“Marginalised women and youths from urban poor communities are taught baking skills and entrepreneurial knowledge to help them gain productive employment or start their own micro businesses,” said Keerthana.

This allows women and youths to earn a dignified living for themselves and ultimately uplift their families.

For the past 16 years, PSPK has been working and assisting communities in need by providing services, training and learning sessions focused on income-generation opportunities.

As part of their efforts, the NGO also established a social enterprise known as Bites N Beans Café to provide on-the-job learning for women and youths in cafe management and baking.

“We thank Star Foundation for providing us the opportunity to partner and work together on this life-changing project to facilitate the development of urban poor women and youth.

“The trust from Star Foundation enhances our credibility and increases our responsibility towards the sustainability of our community,” said Keerthana.

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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