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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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THE "INDIAN PROBLEM" by R.AGE

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HSBC Malaysia’s “ Deepavali Do Good”

It is a special time at MySkills Kalumpang Lakeside Campus when visitors come a calling. November the 2nd 2018 saw HSBC Malaysia’s team for a “Deepavali Do Good” celebration cum educational programme.

We started with a ‘Kolam’ competition, doing it the MySkills way, that of team work. Our students designed and crafted patiently and carefully, attractive “kolams” with contrasting colours. Try to do one and you know what it takes!

Next, we were privileged to have, on our shores, some aspects of the Junior Achievement More than Money financial literacy programme. This global financial literacy programme which centres around earning, spending, sharing and saving money gave our students some insights into money management.

Who should show up during the programme if not for the CEO of HSBC himself! Mr. Stuart Milne was warmly welcomed by the MySkills Family. Most MySkills events would not be complete without student dance performances, both modern and traditional. So they sprung to action, entertaining one and all.

Being an institution that tries to keep its operation costs low, students do their own cooking. Once more they had the opportunity to not only prepare lunch but also to serve, proving their catering skills.

It was then time for Deepavali goodies. Our guests presented these to our students and HSBC’s donation for MySkills. This was a happy moment for sure.

The programme ended at 1230pm after the presentation of prizes for the “kollam” competition and a group photography session. With that we bid farewell to our guests and we are quite sure they enjoyed themselves as much as we did. And that they appreciate our green home at the foothills of Titiwangsa.

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Tan Kah Kee Award 2018

Tan Kah Kee was a prominent social activist, businessman and more importantly a philanthropist.

As a successful businessman he build and funded many Chinese and English schools in Singapore and Malaysia.

In his memory the Tan Kah Kee Foundation was set up. While promoting Mandarin, Science and Technology, it gives out Annual Awards to prominent personalities and institutions for their contribution to the betterment of mankind.

This year Late Tan Sri Yeoh Tiong Lay was selected for his immense contribution to Chinese schools and charities.
And Myskills Foundation was selected for its contribution to uplift the at risk youths in the B40 Indian community.
The Award ceremony was held on 7th of this month at KL and Sel Chinese Assemblies Hall.
Who’s who in the Chinese business community were there.

Each businessman who was present there has contributed millions of ringgit to Chinese schools and colleges.
One could feet the comradeship and willingness of the Chinese millionaires to GIVE BACK to the community.
There was subtle sadness in me as me, Dr Siva, Mr Ragavan and Deva went up to receive the award because except for few , I could hardly remember the businessman in our community who have contributed to the betterment of our Indian community.
There are hundreds of millionaires in our community and only if they could contribute 5% of their wealth for the betterment of the community we can be a proud community which can take care of each and every poor household amongst us.

A community is respected by how it takes care of the poor and marginalised within the community.

We dedicate the Tan Kah Kee Award to the kind souls who have been supporting Myskills in the past 8 yrs and hope you will continue to support.

Creating a better community is our responsibility.

Thank you

Pasupathi

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2018-09-27

A Ministerial visit to MySkills Campus in the making

MySkills was priviledged to have the Honourable Minister of Human Resources, Mr. S Kulasegaran on our grounds at Kalumpang  in the evening of September 27th 2018. He was given a rousing welcome by the Board of Directors of MySkills, students, staff as well as volunteers. YB Kula is the first ever Minister to visit us at Kalumpang; being initiated by him, it was even more special.

This visit would not be complete if it did not include a first- hand view of the development and so our Human Resources Minister was taken on a walk about of a section of the campus. He was very impressed by what he saw in terms of the physical development accomplished thus far with a minimum of resources. The walk about also afforded some time for YB Kula to share some of the realities of his years growing up, which at times was painful for him as he reminisced.

Mr Deva, CEO, invited our guest of honour and everyone, after which was a short video clip of the realities of drop-outs and their life. Dr Shanmuga Siva in his speech reminded us all that it was society which creates crime, of how gangsters have a syllabus, incentives, security, as well as recruitment. He made this observation based on what the juveniles had shared with him; that they had no one to take them except the gangsters upon their release from prison.  And he said that “it was the pain in his heart that brought him here”, referring to YB Kula’s visit.

Mr. Pasupathi then shared a short narrative of its humble beginnings, (for the benefit of YB Kula), the discovery of the reality of the type of students who first enrolled. A  group of three students arrived on bikes, topless and with their shirts wrapped around their waist. Mr Pasupathy recalled how he, Ms. Malar and Mr. Deva were quite stunned by this scene and came to another level of awareness. Among other very pertinent parts of the journey, Mr. Pasupathy acknowledged deep gratitude to the more than 100 individuals who are responsible to taking MySkills to where it is. He acknowledged the work of volunteers and students which kept costs to a minimum.

Next the EWRF Deputy President, Mr. Govindasamy referred to MySkills as a sister organization and paid attention to the mission of MySkills, quoting Dr Siva “that God is in each individual and that we have to reach out to these students”. He concluded by saying that MySkills was on the right track.

Mr. Deva then high-lighted  a source of inspiration, that of a 13 year old drop out who wanted a shelter and food and how this student challenged Mr. Deva to come back to MySkills once he completed his course. And as the said student made his way to the podium, YB Kula could not contain his curiosity and kept turning back as it was such a powerful testimony of the transformative ability of MySkills programme. And Mr. Velan, our trainer and hostel warden simply said that it was his responsibility to change the life of students as Mr. Pathi and others had changed him.

And so YB Kula in a very personal and touching way, addressed the students as “tambeegal , tangacheegal ( brothers and sisters) and then expressed how he was touched and that he was happy to know of so many great people. He said “deep in my heart I know about Indians; I always think about that and the greatest important factor in any country is human development for all”. He expressed the need for skills training for all youth- the Malays, the Chinese, the Kadazans, the Ibans, the orang Asli and other indigenous groups of youth. He acknowledged that without MySkills, the students would not have got skills.

And the next part of his sharing certainly had the students especially listening with their hearts as he shared, in all humility, of his poverty saying “I was poorer than you” and the tasks he and his siblings had to do before and after school hours. His attitude turned around when he overheard his father’s conversation with a friend about his plans to make his son (Kula) to look after cows as he would surely fail his SPM. “I studied out of fear and out of pressure”.

He acknowledged that transforming the lowest, the poorest, and the least affordable people is a priority. He emphasized the need to teach children business acumen. And he made a change in the admission regulation for ILPs, that there is no need any longer to have a pass in BM and history. He said students should be able to enroll as long as they were willing to study.

He predicted that My Skills will become the largest institution in (in this category); he will try to assist he said and that MySkills will become “the brand of this country”. Probably he surprised the audience by revealing that Malaysia is a country with the largest number of migrant workers. He congratulated MySkills by saying it was a fantastic name to have. It was very inspiring to hear from the Minister of Human Resources of his desire to come to MySkills whenever he had the time. And it was even more inspiring to hear “you have done what have been dreaming about; poverty is beyond skin colour. And he concluded aptly with the words “I fully support and endorse the work for the poor”.

Mr. Deva then informed YB Kula that he must accept some gifts from MySkills but which in no way will be unacceptable. These were the Annnual Reports and a basket of vegetables and fruit, all cultivated and cared for by the students.

It was evident that YB Kula was quite reluctant to leave the campus; he was still engaged with different groups during and after the light refreshments served. But having a dinner appointment he left with his police escort at about 630pm for Ipoh.

The weather that day started bleak, with rain clouds heavy in the air. It poured several times but somehow, it cleared in time for this special informal event at very short notice. MySkills, true to it forms, treat every visitor with seriousness and with respect; and so everything was in place, with students even, bussed down from KL and Port Klang.

Contributed by Ms. Veronica Anne Retnam, MySkills Volunteer (Mobile: 016 6687900; varetnam162@gmail.com)

 

 

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J.P. Morgan and MySkills Foundation in partnership to prepare disadvantaged youth in Malaysia for careers in high-demand sectors

Kuala Lumpur, September 21, 2018 – Global banking and financial services provider J.P. Morgan and youth vocational training organization MySkills Foundation (MSF) today launched a demand-led workforce readiness initiative to empower at-risk youth in Malaysia to complete their education and obtain relevant skill sets for gainful employment.

J.P. Morgan is supporting MSF over 24 months to train 300 underserved youth between the ages of 14 and 18 to equip them with electrical, plumbing, air-conditioning, life management and soft skills that will allow them to transition into higher paying jobs upon graduation. MSF typically recruits young people who have dropped out of the mainstream education system, and who need holistic support to transform their career trajectories. With curriculum enhancements and greater emphasis on providing industry linkages and on-the-job training, MSF expects to see significant reductions in drop-out rates among its students and higher-paying jobs for its graduates.

 

The initiative not only supports youth who are in need of sustainable livelihoods, but also addresses the country’s challenges in hiring talent with technical and vocational education and training (TVET)-related skills. According to the government’s 11th Malaysia Plan, about 60 percent of the 1.5 million new jobs expected to be created in Malaysia between 2016 and 2020 will require TVET skills and there are concerns of a lack of talent with the right skill sets to meet demand.

“MySkills Foundation aims to increase our students’ exposure to work experience to help them better connect their schooling with their career prospects and as a result lower their dropout rates, which remains a key challenge. By providing pre-vocational training for students as young as 14, we hope to build up their confidence and nurture learning attitudes that result in stronger retention in our programs. Together with support from J.P. Morgan, we are confident this initiative will bring greater impact in terms of sustainable and successful careers for our graduates,” said Mr. Devasharma Gangadaran, Chief Executive Officer of MySkills Foundation.

 

The program, which commenced in July 2018, addresses the need for more industry involvement in vocational training as identified in J.P. Morgan’s ASEAN-5 New Skills at Work study. The research report was commissioned under J.P. Morgan’s five-year USD 250 million New Skills at Work commitment, which, since 2013, has helped to train over 300,000 beneficiaries in Asia Pacific alone, allowing underprivileged individuals, especially youth, access quality demand-driven jobs in high-growth sectors.

“We are committed to helping young people develop the skills they need to secure better-paying jobs in fast-growing sectors, especially as the country aims to attain high income status by 2020,” said Mr. Steve Clayton, Senior Country Officer for Malaysia at J.P. Morgan. “At J.P. Morgan, we believe that addressing the need for widely shared prosperity is essential and recognize that a quality job can go a long way in transforming lives and strengthening economies.”

 

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MIRACLE ON WHEELS PROVING TO BE “UNSTOPPABLE”

 

*Miracle on Wheels @ Kinta Indian Association Hall , 3rd Show by Myskills Foundation*

The show raised great support and below are the voices that encourage us for the upcoming shows :

Our director Mr Pasupathi with his opening note mentioned that,
One can be born poor but cannot continue being poor and die poor. Poverty is cruel. Therefore, the show by differently abled today is the best example that we have to learn from.

Our sponsor, Y. Bhg Datuk Arumugam Suppiah :
The programme is a great way to build self-confidence and the exposure was very inspiring for everyone who attended.

Miracle on Wheels director, Dr Pasha conducted the show with lots of encouragement . Ms Mahiraa the co-director of Miracle on Wheels also stated that “Because of everyone’s support we are here again”. The audience had given good comments about the show like, “The show was very touching; I watched without lifting my eyes”.

Pavithiran Sivaraman added that the show was above his expectations; the performers had performed very difficult maneuvers. On the other hand, Amutha Rasiah said that she has “never experienced anything like this; this is the best, I am very happy and feel like watching more, I felt goosebumps as I felt the spirit of God through Durga”.

Not forgetting our child audience, Dharany & Sukesh Sasitheran who said they felt very happy to be part of the show.

*We are heading to North for Sg Petani on 17th August & Penang on 19th August this week and spread this to people around you for a great cause ! *

 

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Our Fund Raising event 2018

Category : Uncategorized

 

Most Awaited fund raising event by MySkills Foundation

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