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Helping to make a difference in the life of Malaysian youths

PETALING JAYA: They worked together and made a difference abroad. They then thought, “Why don’t we do it at home?”

This was what prompted a group of young Malaysian professionals who had studied abroad to set up a non-governmental organisation called the “Youth Corp Malaysia”.

The purpose: to gather young professionals to work towards improving the youth of the country.

The NGO, which was set up this month, will focus on education, social issues, sports for the young, healthcare and environmental issues.

Youth Corp Malaysia founder and chief executive officer Dr E Venkates Rao said they chose to focus on these areas because they are the most important sectors for the development of the country.

“Education must be the main focus for the future development of the country. If we want to institute change, we need to find solutions for the ongoing social issues plaguing the country.

“Since the obesity rate in the country is reaching alarming rates, shouldn’t sports be a sector for you, me and the young students to be involved in? That is why we chose sports. We chose the healthcare sector because a healthy nation will lead to a developed country and we chose the environment sector because we believe in going green,” said Venkates, who used to be a former Malaysian student leader in India.

For education, this group of young people plans to identify and focus on improving areas where students are found to be lacking.

“For example, we aim to help strengthen students’ command of English and to help them develop their communication skills. We will also expose them to the wide professional education options available in the country and abroad,” said Venkates.

The group also plans to identify social issues on the ground and to draft a memorandum identifying problems with corresponding solutions to address such problems.

This would then be passed on to the relevant government agencies for further action.

“We won’t just stop there. We don’t plan to submit this to the government and just keep quiet about it. We will lobby the government to implement at least some of the solutions we proposed in the memorandum. We want to see some effective progress,” said Venkates.

For the sports sector, they plan to help the government with the “One student, One sport” programme (where each student has to take part in a sport) by bringing national sportsmen and sportswomen to schools.

“We plan to bring in icons in the sporting industry to be role models for the students and to inspire them to want to be great at sports,” said Venkates.

On healthcare, he said the NGO plans to go into rural and Orang Asli areas to create health awareness.

“This will help us become a healthier nation, which is important in light of the fact that 2.6 million Malaysians under the age of 30 are diabetic patients. We also plan to mobilise mobile clinics to these areas,” he said.

On the environment, Venkates said the NGO wants to inculcate the “Go green” concept in students right from the primary school level so they become environmentally conscious at a very young age.

“This passion for us to empower the youth in our country comes from me and my friends having worked together abroad and making a difference there so we thought that instead of making a difference in a foreign country, it’s time to make a difference in ours,” said Venkates.

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