“I was always afraid that others might laugh at me if I say something wrong in English, so I kept quiet,” she added.The 20-year-old from Kapar, Selangor is currently enrolled in a beauty care and hairdressing course at the Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA) Kuala Lumpur, under its Vocational Training Opportunity Centre (VTOC). She is a participant of the Maharani programme offered there to help the girls harness their potential.
“After attending the Maharani programme, I have developed confidence in myself and realised that unless I try, I won’t get better at it. So, even though my English is still not good, I no longer run away from speaking in English. I am no longer shy to try,” she said.Apart from improving her confidence level, she also noted how the programme helped to bring the girls together. “A lot of the girls who come here have their own issues and insecurities. We used to have a lot of fights in the dormitory and there were groups of girls who refused to be together. But the Maharani programme helped to unite us through games and activities,” she said. Under the partnership between RYTHM Foundation and YWCAKL, about 100 girls enrolled in the Maharani programme. They are taught about gender equality, sexual and reproductive health, ethnicity, culture and the importance of physical and spiritual wellness, giving them the tools to develop into confident, responsible and civic-minded women.