Nelson Mandela once famously echoed the words, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” His words though uttered some time back, still ring true even today. No matter the state of the nation, the heart of a teacher who bleeds for his or her students is enough to spark a revolution.
One such heart belonged to Syamil Yahya, who is an educator in Belaga, Sarawak. An annual sports day is a common event in most schools, but it has been 3 years since the school Syamil is teaching at had their sports day. Syamil saw that he could boost the morale of his students all with the simple sporty gesture. All that was needed though, was the funds.
Syamil and his fellow teachers often had to use their own monetary resources in order to provide good learning materials and support to their students. He knew that this time around though, the script could be flipped once and for all. The heartache of shallower pockets from the educators themselves could also be resolved, thus laying to rest two birds with a single stone.
To Give Is Better Than To Receive
Enter Give.my. They are a Malaysian crowdfunding platform built to empower teachers all over Malaysia to bring to fruition their own education projects. Together with Give.my, Syamil was able to raise a total of RM1600 for his sports day project. That amounted to 123% of his original targeted amount, all generously crowdfunded by the public.
Syamil said, “The sports day provided my students a learning opportunity they never had. And the fundraiser allowed the public to better understand the education gap between rural and urban schools.”
This dedicated educator from East Malaysia is just one of the success stories from Give.my. In fact, Give.my managed to raise RM50,706 from more than 340 supporters in their pilot round of fundraising in 2015.
The fundraiser which lasted for 3 months managed to fund a diverse array of projects inclusive of public archaeology workshops, classroom improvements and therapy for children with special needs. In fact, to validate their startup even further, the team told Vulcan Post, “We have helped 13 educators to fundraise in order to execute their projects. The projects have impacted more than 3000 students, and these achievements make Give.my the largest crowdfunding platform for educators to date.”
Three Light Bulbs Beaming In The Darkness
This noble startup was initiated by 3 brilliant minds, with the help and partnership between the Multimedia Development Corporation (MDeC), Tandemic, KelipKelip and Sekolahku. Spearheaded by social entrepreneur Kal Joffers, founder of Sekolahku, Felix Chong Wai Ming, and a former teacher Chan Oga, these souls were definitely passionate about education itself.
According to Felix, the platform was created in order to give educators more autonomy in dealing with the daily dilemmas that they face in schools. He said, “By providing teachers a platform to crowdfund their education projects, they can execute whatever they think is the best for their students, without having to worry about budget limitations.”
The team told Vulcan Post that this community-involvement platform encourages the public themselves to fund the education of the leaders of tomorrow. “Other than donating just money, we want the community to get involved in the projects. They can endorse projects, they can help spread the word, they can even volunteer.”
To Feel, Is To Know And Understand
One individual who knows what it is like to be so hands on with the kids themselves would be Oga, who was once a teacher. Oga shared, “We were surprised to see that they were so many kind-hearted people, ranging from working class, to active volunteers and even university lecturers, who came onboard to adopt some of the projects.”
This, in turn helped spread word about the project itself to the masses, and attracted more support and donations. Thus far, Give.my’s past projects on their website have succeeded in meeting their goals by a 100%. Some have even gone above and beyond, and it is truly a heartwarming thing to witness.
With a track record of a high success rate, it is only apt that the team are back for round 2. Having launched their second phase of fundraising on January 13, the team aims to raise a minimum of RM50,000 to fund more projects across Malaysia. The projects will last for a total of two months, from the starting date.
The projects are carefully vetted based on their feasibility as well as clear impact made on the kids themselves. With a current total of 9 education projects with a cumulative need of RM40,362, the goal of RM50,000 gives the team a comfortable amount to work around with, in order to aid these projects.
Doing A Part For Beacons Of Tomorrow
If there is one thing to learn from the contributors who have aided Give.my thus far, it would be that “to give is far better than to receive”. If anything, it is an active reminder that we have enough to even give in the first place.
Judging from how past successful projects like the funding of a simple trip to Safari Park, had made the kids day, it really is not too hard to put a smile on the faces of little ones. The question then perhaps would be if we could do our parts as well?