9th February 2019
Ice Breaking Session with young girls at MySkills Foundation. Getting to know themselves and their background
MySkills Foundation is designed to assist at-risk youth identify their strengths and take lead over their lives. Ms. Jayanthi who is a volunteer from Astro, have compassion towards youths in Malaysia. She organized a program in MySkills Foundation to train our girls to build a better future. The first day was more of an introduction class with the girls where they shared their background with each other. The session was also participated by Ms Jayanthi’s husband and her daughter who also very passionate toward the students. Initially all 3 of them never knew much about MySkills but right after the introduction session, they begin to start mentoring these girls with great inspiration. They believe that by proving the relevant role model, they will be able to support these young girls.
16 FEB 2019
Education on Ethnic Image
Presenter Nazmin Ahmad/Project Manager
Awareness on how Indian youths are generally seen in a multi-ethnic society including why stereotypical views become commonplace and ways to overcome them
After the successful 1st session – Ice Breaking with the girls, the 2nd session was conducted by Cik Nazmin Ahmad, Project Manager from Astro. This time was about Education on Ethnic Image. Mainly about awareness on how Indian youths are generally seen in a multi-ethnic society. Including why stereotypical views become common place and ways to overcome them. Cik Nazmin mainly emphasized that personal development is a vital in a person’s growth, maturity, success and happiness. The session ended with a delicious lunch served by them.
23 FEB 2019
Personal Grooming Habits Session 2/Part 1
Presenter Angelina Karthigeyan / Beautician
Essential personal grooming and the necessity to look good always to consequently feel good about oneself
We are always concerned about self-grooming especially when it comes to girls. So the 3rd session was about personal grooming habits on how to carry ourselves and be more adaptable to surroundings in a competitive society. The 2nd session was conducted by Ms Angelina Karthigeyan, beautician from Astro. As Svetlana shared her experiences that Ms Angelina gave personal grooming tips such as how to make facial care, dental care, healthy skin and hygiene care. Essential personal grooming and the necessity to look good always to consequently feel good about oneself.
2 MARCH 2019
Personal Grooming Habits Session 3/Part 2
Presenter Angelina Karthigeyan / Beautician
Essential personal grooming and the necessity to look good always to consequently feel good about oneself.
The third session was a continuation from the previous one, Grooming Habits. This session was conducted by Miss Angelina Karthigeyan, a renowned beautician.
“I learned how to always be neat and clean, well-mannerism, proper body language and attire” says Felicia, MySkills student. They also learned the appropriate dress code for different occasions such as interview, temple, wedding and party. The session was very valuable for our girls, and Ms Angelina was inspired too
9 MARCH 2019
Learning About Nutrition & Fitness
Simple inexpensive ways and lifestyle changes to be fit and healthy by Meera Letchuman / Medical Student
Session 4 was about practising simple inexpensive ways to be fit and healthy. This session was conducted by Medical Student, Ms Meera Letchuman. Students was given tips on which foods to consume and which ones to avoid. Ms Meera also gave easy simple exercise methods to improve student’s fitness level.
Session 5 ( PART 1 )
16 MARCH 2019
Session 5 – Essential Soft Skills
Day to day proper communication skills by Kuna (Professional Speaker) and Sasirekha (Trainer). The session focused more on effective communication and being confident when interacting to social environment. The students shared it was fun-filled experiences with vibrant speakers to make their day.
Session 6 – PART 2
23 MARCH 2019
Session 6 – Essential Soft Skills –
Day to day proper communication skills by Kuna (Professional Speaker) and Sasirekha (Trainer)
The session focused more on effective communication and being confident when interacting to social environment. The students shared it was a great learning experience with their peers and feel more confident to interact in any new environment.
30 MARCH 2019
Role Model – Coming out a winner from a broken alcoholic family, sharing real experience and real-life story by Vijayalakshimi Sithambaram/Manager
Ms. Vijayalakshimi shared her true life story how she came as a winner despite coming from a broken alcoholic family. She shared how she turned a painful situation to her benefits. She also advise these students not to blame each other in any situation but to learn the art of give and take.
6 APRIL 2019
Session 8 : Sexual Harrasment & Safety Plan – By Sankari Jai Devaraj / Medical Student
This was one of the important session for the girls as it is about safety planning from sexual violence. She shared the steps to prevent and to increase their personal safety. The girls played the real scenarios and how to spot the warning signs of an abusive.
11 MAY 2019
BASIC AWARENESS AND IMPORTANCE OF INSURANCE BY DEVAN NAIR GOPALAKRISNAN
Students was exposed to various types of insurance structures in the market. The benefits of buying insurance for both protection as well as saving financially. Through this program our students were briefed on the advantage and disadvantages of having life insurance.
Session 10 – PART 1
18 May 2019
STRESS MANAGEMENT & RESILENCE – COVERS ON HOW TO COPE WITH STRESS AND BECOME MORE RESILIENCE BY THAVAMALAR GOVINDASAMY
Session 10 was all about stress management and resiliency training. Students was taught the steps to control and manage their stress to better face the life challenges. They also learned how to differentiate the positive and negative stress. They were taught to recognise the level of stress and the measurements to take to overcome the stress in simplest way.
HSBC Bank Malaysia Berhad and MySkills Foundation (MSF) today announced their collaboration in a joint venture initiative to empower at-risk youth in Malaysia with the skill sets required for gainful employment. A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed between HSBC Bank Malaysia Berhad and MySkills Foundation today, at the MySkills Transformation Campus in Kalumpang witnessed by YB Tuan Kulasegaran Murugeson, Minister of Human Resources, Malaysia.
The 12-month training programme commenced from April 2019, targets 100 youths to equip them with vocational training, life management and soft skills in order to transition them to higher paying jobs upon graduation from the programme.
The initiative not only supports youth who are in need of sustainable livelihoods but also addresses the country’s challenge 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 Malaysians trained with the right skill sets to meet the demand.
Funded by HSBC, the training programme which includes vocational training is to enable the 100 students for careers in electrical, plumbing, air-conditioning, corporate secretarial and bakery production. Graduating students will be placed with industry partners – which include small-and-medium enterprises and contractors. Concurrently, MySkills will also train the students in basic employability skills, knowledge and work ethics needed to successfully transition into the workforce.
Stuart Milne, Chief Executive Officer, HSBC Malaysia said at the ceremony, “Since our foundation in 1865, HSBC has helped communities to thrive in the modern world. One of our main Corporate Sustainability pillars is to support the financial capability and employability opportunities of the people in the communities we serve, especially for young people.”
“Through our partnership with MySkills Foundation on this project, we hope to give the youth exposure to a wide range of skills that will bolster their chances of having a bright and successful future. I would like to commend MySkills Foundation for their extraordinary contribution to enabling the next generation of Malaysia to become economically independent. We are pleased to have the opportunity to work with such a reputable community organisation that shares our vision of supporting and enabling the employability of young people and look forward to working with them to execute this project over the coming year”, he added.
“MySkills Foundation aims to increase the exposure on work experience (On-Job-Training) to lower the dropout rate that exists, one of the challenges faced. The exposure we hope, would best build occupational character building that will result in stronger retention. Our partnership with HSBC adds greater value for sustainable transformation in terms of human capital, skills competency and enterprising value-based education” , said Mr S Pasupathi , Director of MySkills Foundation.
“Recent study showed a disconnect between the skills that educational and training institutions are imparting and what the industry is seeking. Malaysia has a well-educated workforce, fairly low unemployment and a government proactive in expanding its pool of skilled workers. We remain fully committed to supporting economic growth, inclusion and skills training in this country.”
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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.
maitraḥ karuṇa eva ca
santuṣṭaḥ satataṁ yogī
yo mad-bhaktaḥ sa me priyaḥ
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!
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
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
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.
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.
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; firstname.lastname@example.org)