'Growing Me'

'Growing Me'

Keningau, MalaysiaKeningau, Malaysia
Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
Project Stage:
$1,000 - $10,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Our program is an education program focusing on character building and a basic education. This is a model that can be rolled out in similar circumstances.

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

The issue is to provide an holistic education for children marginalised from education in Sabah, Malaysia. More than 330.000 Indonesian workers in Sabah working in the plantation industry (oil palm, rubber and timber). Sabah depends on these foreign migrant workers as the local population is not enough to support these industries yet these families are denied access to education and other basic requirements. There are more than 53,000 illiterate Indonesian children who are denied access to education in this state alone. They need to know and practice good skills like: social and emotional; academic, moral, values and life skills.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

My focus is to provide learning centers on estates so these children can receive a holistic education providing learning skills and life skills so that they too can make a difference. To make a difference they need values of tolerance; empathy; cultural understanding. In our teaching we cover a curriculum that is heavily weighted on a values program, building character through literature/reading and through exposure by experience. Although we have implemented some of these programs we have a long way to go and many changes to the programs need to be made but we have made a start. We currently run 3 learning centers in Keningau, Beaufort, and Mendulong. We want to document the good practices and spread the model throughout Sabah.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

A specific program is our on-going reading program. Almost all children who come to our learning centers are illiterate or have minimal literacy. We have received donations of books depicting good character from Indonesia and Malaysia. Children need reading for it is through stories that they learn about character and choice in making decisions. They can put themselves in the shoes of the character and wrestle with difficult situations the protagonist is in and then problem solve as to choices. If they can find good examples in literature they will model this behaviour in their lives. Our children come from homes that are poor and parents who are illiterate so they need the role model of the teachers and story characters to help them discover empathy and of good values for their future lives. Reading good literature exposes a whole new learning paradigm. We use readers that portray decisions children have to make and how they learn from their mistakes and how they help others. My teachers read every day with our children and the older ones can retell the story to their younger students. I am very proud of their progress and the empathy they show despite their background. In terms of sustainability of the model, there are two ways how the learning centers are currently managed. In one learning center all expenditures are covered by a minimum fee paid by the parents/migrant workers. In another one the expenditures are covered by fee paid by the parents and contribution from estate company where the parents are the workers of the company.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

There are other learning centers with different approaches assisting illiterate children. I work closely with them, they are not competitors. We frequently share ideas and problems together looking for better ways of addressing our problems. Learning centers can only benefit from working together for the betterment of the lives of these children. Many people comment our learning center is a model for others and we receive frequent and welcome visits from other learning centers and overseas observers. We are different because we do not focus on an academic curriculum but lean towards creating good citizens driven to help their communities.
About You
ProVisi Education
About You
First Name


Last Name


About Your Organization
Organization Name

ProVisi Education

Organization Country

, SB, Keningau

Country where this project is creating social impact
Your role in Education


The type of school(s) your solution is affiliated with

Private (tuition-based)

How long has your organization been operating?

More than 5 years

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How long has your solution been in operation?

Operating for 1‐5 years

Now that you have thought out your entry, help us pitch it.
Define your company, program, service, or product in 1-2 short sentences [136 characters]

We are learning centers where the children of migrant workers grow good values for the betterment of their future and their communities

Identify what is innovative about your solution in 1-2 short sentences [136 characters]

Respect, dignity, empathy are keys to the abilities to create a better future and to contribute to community. These are our core goals.

Social Impact
What has been the impact of your solution to date?

We are now running 3 learning centers, i.e., in Keningau (101 children), Beaufort (90 children), and Mendulong (20 children). JAVA Community Development Center in Keningau is our first learning center. Since its inception it has gained quite a wide community response even deserving an article published in Singapore's New Straits Times, December 2011. But most importantly is the impact on the students and their families giving hope and dignity for a better future knowing that people care about them. They understand themselves and their capabilities. All children are literate now. They are learning to differentiate right from wrong, to think about choices and they know about getting on with others of different backgrounds. The school has also impacted the families opening opportunities and providing a new outlook on life. This school has been a life-changing experience for many children and families opening their eyes to what can be.

What is your projected impact over the next 1-3 years?

The school will continue its work and roll out the model to other areas where children need education and values education. We plan to open one new school each year. I am confident that the children going through our school program now will become leaders and be able to assist those thousands of children still with no access to education. My projected target is to improve the quality of the school offering more opportunities to children to achieve their dreams. And to start a community service project where they give back to their own community to help others. Another way is to help other existing learning centers learn from our model. We believe this would be beneficial because most existing learning centers focus mostly on academics and less with social emotional skills development.

What barriers might hinder the success of your project? How do you plan to overcome them?

Hindrances to the program are mainly political. Our learning centers were illegal until November 2011 when the Malaysian government decided to tentatively permit them legally. Foreign workers are transferred and children suffer the consequences if the transfer is to a place with no school. There are few hindrances if we are fully committed and don't get too pulled down by political issues. We will keep going no matter what happens for nothing is more important than to prepare these children for their life. Another challenge is teacher capacity. Most of our teachers are volunteers who do not have sufficient background to teach. To overcome this challenge we want to develop a standardized training module for newly recruited teachers.

Winning entries present a strong plan for how they will achieve and track growth. Identify your six-month milestone for growing your impact

Create an induction training module for newly recruited teachers

Identify three major tasks you will have to complete to reach your six-month milestone
Task 1

Document current good learning practices according to our past a couple of years experience

Task 2

Identify necessary and sufficient abilities of a good ‘teacher’ to be able to implement good learning practices

Task 3

Create a development program for newly recruited teachers to develop their capabilities

Now think bigger! Identify your 12-month impact milestone

One new learning center accommodating about 240 children

Identify three major tasks you will have to complete to reach your 12-month milestone
Task 1

Develop an economically sustainable replication plan that would enable the model of existing learning center be imitated

Task 2

Develop a supporting system for several learning centers to ensure quality standard

Task 3

Approach estates that are interested to build learning centers for the children of their migrant workers

Founding Story: We want to hear about your "Aha!" moment. Share the story of where and when the founder(s) saw this solution's potential to change the world [125 words]

This moment was in September 2009 when I was asked by the timber mill to set up a school. I never thought I would have the courage to set up schools alone at that time against the national system. But I knew these children needed an education and I knew they needed signposts for their lives so I said, yes I would do it. At this moment I had the courage and became more determined to insist these marginalised children had access to education. As time passed and that school became a success it was easier to set up other learning centers. I know I need to keep going and fight for the right for all marginalised children to access school because it is life-changing. . The saddest thing about the children is not that they cannot read and write, but because they never realise they have the power to change their lives once they learn being empathetic to others and themselves. Disconnectedness and negative belief systems are two important components we are fighting against in this endeavor.

Tell us about your partnerships

In Indonesia and Malaysia we have networks with various good schools and educators. We are a member of Association of Supervision and Curriculum Development, U.S.A. We are also a founding member and a member of the board of management of AKSI (Indonesia Social Entrepreneurship Association) where we share ideas of social changes through entrepreneurial solutions. In Malaysia we maintain good relationship with PACOS (Partners of Community Organisations), a community based voluntary organization which mission is to improve the quality of life of indigenous communities since 1987.

What type of team (staff, volunteers, etc.) will ensure that you achieve the growth milestones identified in the Social Impact section? [75 words]

To achieve the intended social impact we will need a team consisting of a creative curriculum specialist, a system developer, and a financial controller. While a creative curriculum suitable for development of empathy and other socio emotional skills is needed, such curriculum needs to be embedded in a well designed organisation and management system. Such management must be economically sustainable according to its financial model. The team will be lead by an education administrator.

Please elaborate on any needs or offers you have mentioned above and/or suggest categories of support that aren't specified within the list

Some learning centers would be able to sustain themselves, in which case we would replicate it through social impact investment. Others would still need to use donation based models, in which case we expect funding and donations. Thus we would appreciate information, referenced networks and contacts and mentorship to enhance our work.