QI Group’s RYTHM Foundation Launches Jaguh RF to Help At-Risk Youth
There is a lot an individual can gain from being active in sports – tenacity, teamwork and discipline, to name a few. Beyond the physical benefits related to health and fitness, sports also helps to build character, and can be a very important catalyst in the development of the individual, especially if it is introduced at a young age.
Realising the potential of sports in developing youth, the RYTHM Foundation (RF) formed a strategic alliance with three partners to implement our newest programme, Jaguh RF. The partners are the PJ City Football Club (PJ City FC), MySkills Foundation, and MyPJ.
Jaguh RF is a development programme aimed at boys in their early teens from low-income families who are less academically inclined, to excel through sports. The programme will include a combination of activities aimed at the holistic development of these boys. The highlight of the programme is the focus on utilising football to channel the energy and potential of the participants in a positive way. Jaguh is a Malay word which means champion in English. This programme hopes to unearth the potential champions among these at-risk boys.
Jaguh RF was officially unveiled at an event on 15 April 2021 to commemorate the signing of the MoU by the four partners. Present at the MoU signing ceremony were RYTHM Foundation Chairperson, Datin Sri Umayal Eswaran, President of PJ City FC, Dato Sri Subahan Kamal, Advisor of MyPJ, Mr. Jeffrey Phang and Director of MySkills Foundation, Mr. Pasupathi Sithamparam.
In its launch phase, Jaguh RF will be a three-year programme which kicks-off in April 2021 and will include 40 young boys aged around 13-years from underserved communities in Selangor and Wilayah Persekutuan, Malaysia.
“Sports is as a potent driver for social change in many communities around the world. And with Malaysia’s love of football, we believe we can use it as a tool to build a trust base with these boys and work on behaviour change. It’s a powerful tool to promote a sense of belonging, fair play, and respect among the youth. And for many of these young boys, sports provides a safe space for them to escape the sometimes harsh realities of their lives which includes poverty and social exclusion” said Datin Sri Umayal Eswaran.
PJ City FC, a Malaysian football club owned by the QI Group has pledged its full support towards the success of Jaguh RF. PJ City FC President, Dato Sri Subahan Kamal welcomed the Jaguh RF initiative as he has seen first-hand how sports can help young people with character development, through his personal experience in managing local sports teams.
“The future of our nation rests with our youth. Therefore, it is important to nurture them and channel their talent and energy towards attaining growth and transformation. PJ City FC, which recently became the only all-Malaysian team in the Super League, is excited to be part of this programme which has so much potential to help bring about societal change at a structural level,” he noted.
As one of the training providers for the capacity building programme, MySkills Foundation will focus on character development sessions for the students. MySkills Foundation has developed a holistic transformation skills training programme which focuses on character re-engineering with skills competency for sustainable human development.
My PJ, a local community organisation in Selangor will serve as the ground partner to help identify the youth who can benefit from the programme, and also work to promote the programme on behalf of RF to the relevant communities. MyPJ is a tri-sectoral partnership consisting of residents, businesses and organisations operating within Petaling Jaya, Selangor who are supportive of the Petaling Jaya vision of being a liveable city.
Both Mr. Pasupathi and Mr. Jeffrey Phang agreed that Jaguh RF is a well-structured programme with the potential to change the course of the lives of the participants. “The character development segment will focus on five pillars: Self-Esteem, Health, Family & Peers, Community & Nation, Leadership, and Career. This programme aims to produce youths who are holistically developed, able to manage their lives and becoming leaders, able to make wise choices in choosing their career or further education paths, and able to manifest loyalty and responsibility towards the community and the nation at large,” said Pasupathi and Phang jointly.
Both MySkills Foundation and MYPJC are also RF strategic partners for other programmes targeting underserved youth and communities.