The Eco World Foundation is always receptive to new ideas and novel ways of providing assistance to needy students of all races in Malaysia, its Chairman Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye said at its Appreciation Luncheon held to honour its many supporters and donors today.
Among its most recent new initiatives were its sponsorship of the Empowered2Teach programme in aid of Orang Asli children pre-school education. The Foundation has also started a three-year pilot project to improve the academic performance of children in selected schools in Sarawak.
“Our objective is to help as many children as possible have access to education and become useful citizens later in life,” he said at the lunch where the guest of honour was Minister of Economic Affairs, YB Dato’ Seri Mohamed Azmin bin Ali.
Lee expressed his gratitude to the Foundation’s generous sponsors and donors who donated a total of RM6.5 million ‘despite the current challenging economic times’. The total included a RM1 million donation by Eco World Development Group Berhad (EcoWorld Malaysia). Tan Sri Liew Kee Sin, Chairman of EcoWorld Malaysia contributed RM 300,000.
Also present were Tan Sri Liew, Dato’ Chang Khim Wah, President and CEO of EcoWorld Malaysia; Dato’ Voon Tin Yow, Executive Director of EcoWorld Malaysia; and Tan Sri Radzi bin Sheikh Ahmad and Mr Philip Mathews, both Trustees of Eco World Foundation.
Lee said the Foundation’s flagship programme was the Students Aid Programme (SAP) under which it currently assists nearly 3,000 students nationwide at primary, secondary and tertiary levels.
“We are also immensely happy that some of the students whom we have been aiding since primary school have completed their secondary and tertiary education and have now graduated from universities. We are all proud of them and their achievements. Currently we have 36 students in colleges and universities”.
“Your support, encouragement and assistance have been the critical factor that has helped the Foundation fulfil its purpose to help needy Malaysians from all walks of life, from all ethnic groups, and from different regions of Malaysia.”
He added: “We at the Eco World Foundation strive to help underprivileged young Malaysians stay in schools so that they are not denied proper education which is the passport to improving their quality of life and that of their families. It is a key element in breaking the cycle of poverty faced by many Malaysians.
“We have so far been extremely gratified by the enthusiastic responses we have been receiving from the students and their parents. Not only from them, but also from teachers and school principals.”
Besides these quantitative aspects of its work, the Foundation is also keenly interested in the qualitative aspects. Through its counselling, motivational efforts and home visits, it has been able to change the lives of the families of children it has been supporting. Lee added the returns from the money spent are immeasurable and cannot be measured in quantitative terms.
“Because the effects of our efforts are wide-ranging, life-changing and lifelong,” he said. A real-life example of how these translate into the lives of the beneficiaries can be seen in the Foundation’s Motivational Camps. Under this programme, students from various schools and backgrounds both racial and religious are brought together and accommodated in nearby hotels or schools and then engaged in motivational talks and activities.
When they come together, they are usually shy, reticent, and do not mix well with students from different backgrounds. Many of them also lack self-confidence. But, after just three days, the change in the children is “phenomenal”.
“They become much more confident, they become more assertive, they are able to mix well with children from other schools and other races, they are happy to cooperate with each other, and share their thoughts, hopes and aspirations.
The change is simply amazing.
And so, the scope and extent of our activities will continue to grow, in line with our objective to help as many children get the education they deserve to become independent and useful citizens later in life.”
Tan Sri Lee also paid tribute to members of the Eco World Foundation Volunteers Club, a voluntary organisation comprising 300 EcoWorld staff who supplement the work of the Foundation. Over a period of six months this year, the volunteers visited 650 students to assess their needs and provide assistance.