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Educating on Drugs Abuse to Myskills Youths ( A session with Mr Yogeswaran )

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“When a student, in school, or anyone, offers a tablet for remembering for school lessons well, you must think”.  This is what Jananey, 16, says she has learned, apart from other useful information from a Drug Awareness session conducted by Mr. Yogeswaran from Kementerian Dalam Negeriat MySkills on December 20th.These tablets which come in four colours, i.e. red, apple green, yellow and blue are drugs. These are harmful to health and are addictive. And so one must not take them, she said. She further explained that these impact the heart, have poison and lead to mental disturbance.  While she did hear about such an impact when she was in school, she did not take this knowledge seriously.

Tharshini Sunder 17added that taking drugs meant a “slow death” because if someone stars taking drugs, it becomes addictive. The mind she said will keep saying “drugs”. These are among the facts she learnt through the talk. She wants to play a role in society to try and stop young people from joining bad company and become drug addicts.

Ms. Anne Samuel, a lecturer from MySkills, appreciates this programme, reflecting on it as a “perfect programme for students in the age range of 14 to 17 as it has provided them with knowledge about the type of drugs and how one gets addicted.  The speaker’s strong stand against drug addiction, its impact on the lives of the addicts which was very sad, opened the eyes of the students, added Ms. Anne. The value of the talk provided students an insight into how to choose friends and life partners. This itself is a big bonus from the talk, said Ms. Anne.

MySkills with its commitment to transforming the attitudes   of youth from very tough backgrounds, continues to make available programmes which empower our youth. Tharshini, in making a statement about her own contribution, certainly is in the right direction.   So too Jananey who has “sat up” and taken seriously the path she must stay away from, for life. And chose that which MySkills has lit up for her and all who come via the MySkills door.

Veronica Anne Retnam

31.12.2018

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Ending with Good Qualities

Yesterday marked the last Bhagavad Gita class conducted by our most dedicated Volunteer Ms Ranjini for year 2018 at Myskills Foundation. They had a small gathering to celebrate a good full year of joy, fun and knowledge that we have obtained in this 2018.

Dr. Prajindra honoured the gathering with his presence and as our Guest of Honour, he delivered a talk on *“Conquering the Enemies- Anger and Envy”.*

They also talked about success. A true success is to be peaceful. With peace comes happiness. But how to attain this? First, one has to attain a successful mind. Texts 13 and 14 of Chapter 12 of the Bhagavad Gita describes how one can attain a successful mind.

Bg. 12.13-14
adveṣṭā sarva-bhūtānāṁ
maitraḥ karuṇa eva ca
nirmamo nirahaṅkāraḥ
sama-duḥkha-sukhaḥ kṣamī

santuṣṭaḥ satataṁ yogī
yatātmā dṛḍha-niścayaḥ
mayy arpita-mano-buddhir
yo mad-bhaktaḥ sa me priyaḥ

Translation
One who is not envious but is a *kind friend to all living entities*, who *does not think himself a proprietor* and is *free from false ego*, who is *equal in both happiness and distress*, who is *tolerant*, *always satisfied*, *self-controlled*, and *engaged in devotional service with determination*, his *mind and intelligence fixed on Me* – such a devotee of Mine is very dear to Me.

Looking forward to a good 2019 and may our learning and the wisdom of the Bhagavad Gita bring about the transformation we all very much hanker for. Happy New Year!

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A journey began, a journey completed; a new journey begins…..

8th December 2018 marked an exciting day in the life of 103 young people gathered at MySkills Youth Transformation Campus, Kalumpang. They were part of a bigger group, from 2010, who had dared to take the first step in a different direction. It was MySkills 6th graduation session. Together with them were their parents/mothers/ care-givers; for most of them at least. The emotion was surely mixed for the handful of students who were there without family being present.
The dignity that MySkills graduates gained as they received their Malaysian Vocational certificates from the Guest of Honour Datuk B. Sahadevan is something that has come from the efforts of many, including the youth themselves. Datuk Sahadevan in his opening address quoted from what Mr Pasupathi had recalled, that of the quote of the Late Tun Sambanthan- “being poor but not timid”. And he likened MySkills’ growth from a “small seed to such a big endevour”.
Datuk Sahadevan reminded the youth to be responsible to take care of their lives as the future of the community he shared, relied heavily on them. Mr. Pasupathi had earlier brought the audience back to a historical point, that of the contribution made by Indians in the days of early Malaya, of the arduous task of cutting the jungle, of planting rubber. “This is your place” reminded the founding Director of MySkills. “MySkills is restoring the dignity the Indians once had” he added. For Dr. Sanmugasiva “ teaching a poor child will lead to God looking for you”. He assured the youth that MySkills will follow up with them in the journey of their life.

What is this transformation, one may wonder. For Peter Rajoo, from Rembau who stepped foot into MySkills in 2016 at Port Klang, it was a change in attitude to so many aspects of life, including food. He learned to eat vegetables only at MySkills; he never communicated respectfully with anyone but through his time in MySkills, he learned that there were some words you never used on anyone. This reminder came everyday at assembly- the MySkills pledge, in Tamil and English.
He learned that there was a certain way of speaking. He learned it by witnessing how his ‘teachers” spoke. He is grateful to all staff and volunteers for showing him the path, even that of bringing his interest in sports to a higher level. Kegundren, 17 shared that he used to speak without thinking but now he knows what respect is. He has also learned about reality, the “outside world”, the good and bad. He now is proud to have secured a job as a wireman in Karak Pahang. Like Peter Rajoo, he is now set to make his contribution to his family.

Mr. Deva was all smiles as he announced the MySkills Foundation Awards beginning with the highest, i.e. Raja Dato’ Rashid Badiozaman Transformation Award. This went to Ganesan Thewasikamany for his exemplary leadership traits besides his multi-technical skills. MySkills being an inclusive training instution, gave recognition to a youth with Special needs, i.e. Logeswary Ganesan. Her partial hearing ability was not used as an excuse but rather in spite of it, she pushed herself and showed her passion in bread and pastry making. After an initial employment at a Café in Sunway University, she is now in a new job in Singapore. She is 2018’s recipient of the Special Jury Award. Three other students were recognised through the MySkills Excellence awards, i.e. Pravindran Vasudevan, Rubba Sri Punaveswaran and Karthigan Jaishangkar. Pravindran had no background to any of the technical skills he now applies every day as an intern. While he may be reserved, he commands a lot of respect given his dedication and loyalty.

If there was one student who gave some degree of stress to Mr. Deva through his former teacher, it is no other than Khitiswaran Yogesvaran. It was his teacher Mr. Nada who got Mr Deva to enroll Khitis in MySkills. His teacher never failed to ask Mr. Deva about him. The “how is Khitis” question was akin to a knife being held at his throat, mused Mr. Deva. Today, Khitis proudly went up the stairs with his head held high together with all his friends.
Being in a class setting with a mixed group of students, most of whom are starved of attention, both at home and in school, a “teacher” certainly has its challenges. There is a time period when the students journey begins in the ‘pre-vocational’. Here they learn some basic literacy and numeracy skills bearing in mind that most have been left very far behind. And some of these challenges continue throughout their transformation in MySkills.

The “transformers” are both staff and volunteers. MySkills honours the dedication of volunteers through its Special Awards. This year’s three recipients are Mr Jayagobi for his 6 years of commitment to the youth through his electrical skills, Ms. Ranjani for contribution to the spiritual development of the female students through a creative engagement of the students with the Bhagavad Gita. And the students and staff look forward to her vegetarian meals brought without fail every Tuesday. Another “star” is Ms Punitha, a retired staff nurse dedicated to the transformation of the students at de Devine Café. She drives daily from Cheras to Brickfields to help in the F&B training and her motherly advise and relationship.

MySkills will always make a difference to the many marginalized youth, irrespective of ethnicity. With its 35 acres campus and facilities, MySkills look forwards to more youth to learn not only a skill but more importantly to begin a journey of transformation of their lives. Its various programmes, i.e. Electrical Wiring, Industrial Automation, Secretarial and Bakery Production provide a means of livelihood, together with other skills related with agriculture. It is the holistic transformation that sets MySkills apart for all who have completed the process. This year’s graduates totaled 103.

 

 

Veronica Anne Retnam
12122018

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Bangsar Tamil school Alumni’s Deepavali Evening at Myskills Lakeside Campus

A group of ‘students’, 28 in all, made their way in a chartered bus to MySkills Lakeside  Campus at about 430pm on 27th October 2018 for a Deevapavali evening with our students. Our ‘student-visitors’ were special; they were all former students of the Bangsar Tamil School from the 1960s.

Former student, Ms. Ruku, was anxious to the see the campus after having heard about it and how some students were building their future through MySkills. So after a short welcome speech by Mr Pasupathi they heard about some realities of the students. Ruku and her friends were quite sad.

But this feeling of sympathy moved quickly to one of empathy as the group interacted with the students and witnessed their talents and many positive attitudes. Their helpful nature, their ability to follow instructions and improvise came to light through the Krishna song that Ruku and friends wanted. The instruction was to get a student to dress up like Krishna. “The students did this delegation very well with just minimal correction” said Ruku.

Our students had our senior visitors captivated by their kolatham, something many had not watched in recent years, especially live. And the group was once more pleasantly surprised by the food that was cooked and served by the students. So it wasn’t only the well behaved nature of the students that came across but many positives as well. The conversation of the group on their way home revealed Ruku, was about their next visit, about the idea of bringing their relatives, particularly the younger generation. “We want to look around more too as the rain prevented us from moving around” concluded Ruku as she recollected about the special experience with the students.

MySkills appreciates the very practical goody bag that our Deepavali visitors had for each of our students, some toiletries, including towels. We certainly look forward to the “students” and their families/friends for another visit and possible long term commitment as it allows them. It certainly will be a learning experience for all.

Contributed by Veronica Anne Retnam based on an interview

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UNSTOPPABLE by MIRACLE ON WHEELS

Category : Blogs , home news3 , news , Recent Posts

After a successful 12 days tour in Malaysia during November 2017 the MIRACLE ON WHEELS(Differently Abled dancers from India) is making a return for a second tour to Malaysia,sometime in August 2018.

Similar to first tour Myskills Foundation plans to organise for second tour to raise fund to to build its Youth Transformation and skills Campus at Kalumpang, Hulu Selangor.

For each venue we plan to have two shows consecutively running for two days. . First day of show we will showcase variety of performances ranging from Bollywood on wheels,  Durga on Wheels,  Barathanatyam on Wheels and many more.

The Second day would be a dedicated special performance comprising 30 minutes of Ramayana on wheels and 30 minutes of Bhagavat Gita on wheels.

Both these shows are specially choreographed for the Malaysian audience and its one of a kind.

Look out in August for the return of Miracle on Wheels with their  “Unstoppable” Theme.

Dont Miss It.

For further information

Contact

Mr Pathi 0122245514

Mr Deva 0123465212

Ms Siva. 0102732981

www. myskills.org.my

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Community Work by Our Students

Category : Blogs , home news3 , news , Recent Posts

MySkills has been committed to community work as part of a social contribution as well as a transformative programme. As part of this on-going programme, groups of students from the Port Klang Centre have been making their way to institutions around the vicinity of Port Klang to lend a hand. These include institutions which provide shelter and care to the elderly, specially- abled children and orphanages.

On the 4th of February, 30 students carried out some needed electrical repair work, thus using their technical skills to a good cause at the Sai Annai Ilam at Sentosa, Klang. They also carried engaged with the children in games. Sharing another skill that they have learned and which they happily shared with the children was through painting and colouring.

Almost a week later, on the 10th, 45 students went to the Centre for children with special needs, i.e. Persatuan Penjagaan Kanak-kanak Cacat at Pandaram, near Bomba. Besides cheerly and efficiently cleaninf the drains and compound, the students engaged with the children in games. They also communicated with both children and adults in ways they could.

Another group of 41 students were with the elderly at Persatuan Warga Emas in Sentosa, Klang on the same day, i.e. 10th February. Listening to the sad stories of the ‘aunties’, was very touching for the students. It made them emphatise the elderly.

On 17th February, 30 students were back in Sai Annai Illam again. This time, they fixed a fan, did some general washing, cleaning up a small room. And then it was time for a round of football which both groups thoroughly enjoyed.

Engaging with children and the elderly and contributing actively leaves an impact on the students and the residents alike. For the students, they learn to be sensitive to others while fro the residents, they are happy to receive visitors who engage with them. For MySkills, this engagement has been consistent for a number of years.

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Transforming Oneself through the PEACE Programme

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MySkills has been engaging with an NGO bringing a programme called P.E.A.C.E. as part of an additional means of transformation, particularly through the management of emotions.  The Performance Empowerment Attributes Programme towards Collective Excellence is a “transformative programme towards self-mastery, to change and re-engineer oneself towards successful life endeavours”. The programme is spread over 1 year beginning with a weekend and with follow up sessions monthly for one cycle. For the current cycle, the PEACE camp was conducted on the 4th and 5th of February. A total of 64 students, from the Port Klang Centre accompanied by a staff Ms. Karisma immersed themselves in the programme.

The students, ranging from 13 years to 15 years, focused on the emotions they faced through a series of games requiring team work, reflective questions and drama. Jiven Raj, 17, shared that one aspect that he found usual was the session of anger management. Arvin, also 17 said he enjoyed the interaction with friends, learning to face and solve problems individually instead of always running to someone else. He explained that “small” problems like someone using foul language could be resolved by choosing to ignore and not react by fighting. He said that one could also report such occurrences to a staff member.

Truancy was a very common habit among many of his friends before setting foot in MySkills, said Kamaraj, 16. The PEACE programme makes participants reflect on such tendencies. He explained about the drama session that the students were asked to prepare. His group chose a futsal session to depict some problems usually encountered and how they resolved the issues without resorting to fighting.

For the 64 students who have started their journey in MySkills and are committed to transformimg themselves, the PEACE programme gives a hand as do the many staff members, volunteers, directors, donors and all supporters.

Discover what this programme is like and its impact through the link: www.shivarudrabalayogi.org/talks-a-writings/1156-peace-program-level-1-with-myskills-foundation-malaysia

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*Vaanga Palagalam 3 (FREE Skills Training & Character Transformation by MySkills Foundation)*

Category : Blogs , events , home news3 , news , Recent Posts

A majority of the current 13 – 19 year old teens face the risk of developing delinquent behaviour and are exposed to juvenile crime given their poor socio-economic environment. In addition they also have learning disabilities. These teens form the ‘at risk youth’ population which is detrimental to the individual as well as for nation building.

For the past 7 years, Myskills Foundation has been working closely with these high risk youth and is dedicated to guide their character transformation. MySkills engages with these youth who relocate from their current environment and cultivate a new value system throughout the journey of individual character transformation for a minimum of 2 years to a maximum of 4 years.

4 major pillars which cover holistic skills training emphasise emotional, social, life management and vocational skills contributing to balanced human development. Besides holistic skills training , MySkills also provides food, accommodation, and transportation FREE OF CHARGE for these underprivileged children **(PROGRAM WHOLLY SPONSORED BY SEDIC)*.

Being a parent, family member, relative, friend , community member, educator, or concerned individual , YOU could be the Change for the Future of these youth by identifying and helping them to be transformed.

Drop by to visit us 18th March at Vivegananda Ashram for an Open Day briefing to get more information on how to enrol the ‘at risk youth’ in Myskills.

Date : 18th March 2018
Time : 10am – 5pm
Venue : Vivekananda Ashram,
Brickfields.

For further details, please reach us at 03-26916363 / 012-3465212 (Mr Deva) / ‭017-4866847‬ (Ms Sugunia)/ ‭010-2732981‬ (Ms Sivapreeyah).

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A Muhibbah Ponggal Celebration

Category : Blogs , home news3 , news , Recent Posts

Sunday 28th January 2018 was a very special day for the family of MySkills. There was an air of excitement as students began the day, some as early as a 3am rise. Students, parents, volunteers, supporters, staff and directors made their way to the Kalumpang  campus on buses, bicycles and cars.  MySkills Foundation Ponggal 2018 was waiting to happen!

As the students, staff and volunteers were getting ready, a group of women from Kalumpang Chinese New Village cycled in. In fact they were among our first guests! For them it was their first experience of a Ponggal celebration.  With the 14 Ponggal “stations” all set with pots, firewood, sugarcane, milk rice, sugar, the event began with Thevaram recital by Mr Sitarasu. The Emcee then explained the significance of Ponggal celebration of gratitude for nature. Livendran explained this Mandarin for the benefit of our Chinese guests who were very impressed.

After the ernest fire-fanning and urging the boiling over of Ponggal rice with shouts of “Ponngalo ponggal” repeatedly which was preceded by the  drawing of kolam( an Indian art form) using flour, it was time for a meal. The vegetarian fare that was served was the products of a labour of love of a team of 10 of our boys led by Mr Naresh our staff, a graphic designer.

Entertainment followed next. MySkills youth broke into dance, an inert talent and which brings a lot of joy. Different groups of male and female students entertained the community with their skilful maneuvers requiring coordination and perfect timing.

Ponggal celebrations come with community games,  uri adittal (pot breaking) being one of them. For those who have not seen nor experienced, it is quite a feat. Blind folded and swirled around a few times, the striker, armed with a long stick has to make his/her way amid shouts, some of which purposely are misleading. So some ‘strikes’ end up beating the air while some are able to make out the deception and successfully strike the pot.

Befitting the occasion, the words that stood out in description of feelings as expressed by all were “enjoy; happy; excited”. Yuvan Raj, a 14 year old just one week in MySkills was happy to be at the celebrations. Menaga, a student was very excited as she had only seen Ponggal celebrations on TV. It was a new experience for her and she supported her friends and encouraged them .

In the words of Mr. Tan and Mr. Chan from Kalumpang Chinese New Village MySkills is a beacon of hope for poor students while also helping to develop the local area.

With the last event, the tug of war, it was time to bid farewell to Kalumpang. The 20 students and the four from Kalumpang who worked hard to prepare the grounds two days before though tired were indeed happy and proud; so too all who made Ponggal 2018 a reality. Ms. Sugunia, a staff aptly shared that she was very happy to work in a place like MySkills as it merged community service and skills training.  With the hard work of all staff and students Ponggal MySkills Foundation 2018 will linger long in the memories of all who came and participated. And for our Chinese friends from Kalumpang New Village, pouring milk into the pot was a thrilling experience. It was truly Mubibbah!

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Water for milk

Category : Blogs , home news3 , news , Recent Posts

Thaipusam, another auspicious event, which took place after Ponggal celebrations last January, got our attention too. We planned a campaign to promote Myskills to the public as publicity id needed quite consistently for awareness. But our students had a different plan for their part.

Spiritually charged , these young boys wanted to pay their vows to their favourite deity, Lord Murugan, in the Batu Caves temple. While planning the arrangements among themselves, the boys listed out quite a number of items.
‘Offerings’ for Lord Murugan came up as the budget and project impact validation were discussed. The initial idea of buying milk, pots and tokens for the offering was estimated to be almost RM 2,000. For a moment we had to ‘re-think’ whether it is really worthwhile to shower the deity with milk or consume the milk for breakfast for the next two weeks. Perhaps, Lord Murugan himself would be happy to see milk consumed for physical growth. This paradigm shift could happen by giving the right awareness.To substitute milk, water was chosen as the offering. It would which not cost much.

Our boys agreed to pursue the revised plan and the journey was blessed with a great realisation. We were quite relieved that community money was not used for non-impact areas and that it made an impact in the process of our students’ transformation.

Dear stakeholders (donors, volunteers and supporters), your money, time and energy always are always great assets for Myskills. We take great responsibility in managing these resources as they create a sustainable future for us.

Happy Thaipusam to all !!!

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