Charvinder Kaur, 15, our Maharani Programme participant from the small town of Sungai Siput, Perak, in Malaysia, aspires to be a teacher, so that she can help children from underprivileged families like her have a better future.
Being the eldest of three in her family, Charvinder feels the sense of responsibility to give her mother, who is a single mother and her siblings a better life. The struggles faced by her mother, who puts on a brave front at all times no matter how tough the situation gets to support the whole family both financially and emotionally, keeps Charvinder going whenever she feels like giving up.
“My mother is a factory worker in Kantan, Sungai Siput. She doesn’t earn much from her job, so it’s quite tough for her to support us. We’re not terribly poor, but there were occasions where we had nothing to eat.”
Charvinder started participating in the Maharani camp in 2018 and is currently in her second year into the programme.
“Ms Usah Nanthini, the Maharani programme coordinator approached my mother and explained to her the benefits of joining. I became very keen on joining as the camp and the learning lab would allow me to learn many valuable life skills.”
In her first year, Charvinder enrolled in all sorts of classes which include dance lessons, baking classes, string arts, as well as handicraft and jewellery making.
“My favourite class is definitely string arts. I love working with my hands to do these kinds of artwork.”She also went the extra mile and joined Maharani’s Footprint programme, a mentorship program aimed at matching less fortunate adolescent girls with responsible and inspiring adults who could mentor them. Through this mentorship programme, she further learned how to develop her self-confidence and through the guidance of her mentor, learned how to embed in her the core values needed to realise her dreams. The Maharani programme has enabled Charvinder and many other girls like her to learn basic life skills and understand the value of being independent. It has also exposed her to the tremendous potential and power that young girls like her have. “If I can summarise it, I would say that going through the Maharani programme has given me a better understanding of what it means to have in me, the ‘Girl Power!’”.