Lifting burdens, elevating dreams


Jubilant: Najmi and Chan posing with their award certificates after the ceremony. — YAP CHEE HONG/The Star

PETALING JAYA: Growing up, Chan Kit Vern often heard stories from her parents about how her uncle, who is a doctor, helped his patients improve their health.

She also had the opportunity to spend time in his clinic and witness how he offered treatment to the people.

Inspired by the stories and her first-hand observations, she aspired to follow in her uncle’s footsteps.

The 20-year-old is now on her way to realising her dream, having been granted the opportunity to pursue the Bachelor of Medical Science and Doctor of Medicine at Monash University Malaysia as a Star Education Fund scholarship recipient.

Expressing her gratitude for being awarded the scholarship, she said it not only relieves her parents from worrying about her tuition fees but also allows them to set aside money for her four younger siblings’ education.

“I knew I couldn’t place more financial burden on my parents, especially since our household income drastically decreased due to the Covid-19 pandemic,” she said.

Her mother is a bank employee, while her father used to own a business.

“My parents are doing their best to feed five children and support our extracurricular activities. I want all my siblings to obtain a good education. To achieve that as well as my dream, I applied for the scholarship,” she said at the Star Education Fund scholarship award presentation ceremony for the year 2023 at Menara Star here yesterday.

Chan said that obtaining the scholarship to study medicine is her tribute to her late grandfather, who was a biology teacher.

“He wrote biology books a long time ago and collected many books related to medicine and health science,” she said.

Fellow recipient Najmi Ad Khairul, who is pursuing a Bachelor in Law and Commerce (Hons) at Management & Science University, said he had initially lost hope of continuing his studies due to multiple rejections in his scholarship applications.

“But my parents sat me down and told me to keep going. So, winning this scholarship means a great deal to me,” said Najmi, 23.

He added that he knew early on he had to study diligently and seek out scholarships to pursue his tertiary studies.

“My dad works as a security guard and my mum sells nasi lemak every morning. Despite their hard work, my parents face financial challenges due to their low income.

“They often have to prioritise necessities and savings for emergencies. They want me to get a good education but they can’t afford to pay for my tuition. So my only shot was to hit the books and try my luck with scholarships,” he said.

With the scholarship, Najmi said he is motivated to make the most of opportunities that come his way.

“I aim to excel academically and participate actively in programmes that could enhance my skills. I hope that my studies will equip me with practical skills and insights that I can apply in the future.”

Since its inception in 1994, the Star Edu-cation Fund has benefited 4,439 scholarship recipients with a value of over RM164.3mil.

Star Media Group chief executive officer Alex Yeow said a total of 78 scholarships valued at RM5.76mil were awarded for the 2023 scholarship cycle.

“We always believe in the power of collaboration with like-minded partners in making these awards more meaningful.

“The strong relationships we have shared with many of our partners-in-education have been invaluable,” he said.

At the ceremony, Yeow also officiated a soft launch of the Star Education Fund Scholarship Awards 2024.

“We are proud to announce that our strong foothold has now expanded to encompass 26 partners-in-education for 2024, with a total of 192 scholarships worth RM12.4mil,” he said.

The Star Education Fund will be running for the 31st consecutive year this year.

Applications for this year’s edition are targeted to open in April.

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