Malaysian earns spot on Global Student Prize shortlist


Proud moment: Nazieha is the sole Malaysian finalist for the annual student award.

PETALING JAYA: A Bajau teen has been teaching single women, especially mothers, how to bake and generate an income for themselves.

Nazieha Jasnie, 19, and the team she leads held such workshops in the rural district of Keningau, Sabah, last year and early this year.

The bakery and pastry student from Keningau Vocational College, Sabah, said the women, mostly of Dusun heritage, learn how to bake using affordable ingredients.

The goal is to help them generate income by starting their own businesses with their newly gained skills.

The selfless teenager has also joined many fundraising events to raise money to finance her peers’ participation in baking competitions around Malaysia, and led her teams to take part in several competitions and conferences.

For her efforts, Nazieha has been named one of two Malaysian top 50 finalists for the Global Student Prize 2023, alongside Kenneth Chong.

The youngest daughter of two school clerks, Nazieha is a finalist of the prestigious student award given annually to exceptional students who have made a huge impact on their peers and society.

She was selected from over 7,000 nominations and applications from 150 countries.

If she wins the US$100,000 (RM454,000) award, Nazieha said she would use the money to further her studies and expand her business, Tiaa Cookies, which is currently limited to just selling cookies.

“I would like to get my bachelor’s degree in business management and afterwards, I intend to open my own bakery and turn it into a franchise.

“My goal is to help create more jobs that can reduce our country’s rate of unemployment,” she told The Star.

Tiaa Cookies has also been how she was able to afford travelling to Bali, Indonesia, to take part in a baking innovation contest.

Last year, Sabahan Alesyah Asa from the same college made it into the top 10 for the award, given by the Varkey Foundation and Chegg.org.

Keningau Vocational College director Christine Stanislaus Kinsik said she is proud of Nazieha’s achievement.

She believes this shortlisting will help bolster the employability of vocational college graduates.

The winner of the Global Student Prize is expected to be announced soon.

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