Entrepreneur

This M’sian Social Enterprise Is Letting Students Tell Their Life Stories Through Performance

Every good performance needs a story of sorts.

Sometimes that story can come from one’s imagination or be inspired by others, but it’s often said that the best stories come from one’s personal life and experiences.

Knowing this, GoodKids Malaysia, a social enterprise (SE) established in 2015, is holding a performance based on its students’ lives called When Bells Meet Buckets on December 6 and 7, 2019.

Wanting to learn more about how this SE has grown over the years and the inspiration behind such a performance, Vulcan Post reached out to its co-founder, Kogge.

Developing Trust And Reputation

GoodKids Malaysia was started by Bala, Naaraa, and Kogge. Bala is a counselling psychologist with over 30 years of experience working with the marginalised community, particularly the youth.

His daughter, Naaraa is a singer and musician with a diploma in both Psychology and Music. She’s also been involved with volunteer work since young, alongside Bala.

Kogge is Bala’s niece, and she was an engineer who quit after 5 years in the industry because she found her passion for teaching through the volunteering she does with her uncle.

Image Credit: GoodKids Malaysia

Together, the trio combined their skills and experiences to build up GoodKids Malaysia, which aims to help youth develop their self-confidence and life skills through acting and body percussion, all of which are important things ignored by educational institutions.

They’ve worked with over 500 students so far, giving them a place where they can feel like they belong.

That’s a lot of students, but what’s also impressive is that it’s an SE that’s been up and running for 4 years now, since 44% of the thousands of startups that keep appearing don’t make it past 4 years of life.

But according to Kogge, they’re not hiding some big secret to their success.

“Our success would have to be the wavelength of the team, being objective about our cause and being adamant about what we believe in, which has developed a reputation for us among the funders, corporate companies and the public. Once they trust us, many efforts that we do easily gains support,” she said.

She added that they’ve been fortunate with the support that they get, as they’re still dependent on grants as they gradually increase their revenue generation.

Image Credit: GoodKids Malaysia

It’s been said that SEs aren’t profitable or scalable, but Kogge said that there isn’t any fixed formula as each SE has its own mechanism that would be tweaked as they grow.

“To make it profitable and scalable, SEs need to know their product or service that can be monetised in the first place. We would strongly urge SEs to think about financial sustainability from the initial stage, which we wish we thought about more when we set up,” she added.

Personally, she believes that Malaysia will be seeing more SEs in the coming years because she feels that compared to having a regular corporate job, more people now want to make a difference in their communities and find purpose in it.

As for what she hopes these future SEs will be tackling, she wants to see them become enablers of the youth and underprivileged communities.

Putting On A Show

When we think of art, we might think of fancy, expensive museums and showrooms. The consumption of art has long been exclusive to the elite, even though the artists who created that art were often poor themselves.

In KL, the artists are still poor, but things are slowly changing, according to Kogge.

“Art, here, is becoming more of a tool for awareness, which is why it is made available and palatable by the layman, hence accessible to all, not just the elite,” she explained to us.

Image Credit: GoodKids Malaysia

And one example of this art would be GoodKids Malaysia’s own production, When Bells Meet Buckets.

The idea of holding such a performance came about when Kogge, Bala and Naaraa realised that some of their students were so talented that their annual GoodKids League couldn’t do them justice.

“We needed to create a bigger platform for them and challenge them to discover their own strength. We also realised that there is a stigma in society that arts are a distraction which sometimes hindered our work,” Kogge said.

Coming up with the idea didn’t take long, but putting details to it and working with the students to make it a reality took a lot of effort in the past 1 year.

When Bells Meet Buckets is an anthology of stories picked from the many lives of the students, because the GoodKids Malaysia team strongly believes in having acceptance of their roots to be the healing and progress to their future.

Image Credit: GoodKids Malaysia

“The production has helped most of our students understand themselves better, improve their self-confidence and come to terms with reality as well as having passion in what they do,” Kogge shared.

“The aim of this production is to tell the stories of these youth to the public, and make them understand the other side of the coin.”

This production will be the biggest show GoodKids Malaysia has done so far, and Kogge hopes that they’ll be able to replicate it in arts festivals or events with the help of interested organisations.

Setting up a GoodKids band is also in the works, but there’s still much to be done.

  • If you’re interested in the show, you can buy tickets here.
  • You can read more about what we’ve written on other social enterprises here.

Featured Image Credit: GoodKids Malaysia

 

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