RYTHM Engages Community as Maharani Learning Lab Embarks on a New Chapter
RYTHM Foundation recently organised an event to introduce the Maharani Learning Programme to families from low-income households in Selangor, Malaysia.
With each passing day, girls worldwide face barriers to education caused by poverty, cultural norms and practices, poor infrastructure, violence, and fragility.
According to UNICEF, 129 million girls are out of school worldwide. Approximately 67 million are of upper-secondary school age, 32 million primary school age, and 30 million lower-secondary age. In addition, girls are more than twice as likely to be out of school in countries affected by conflict.
Ensuring all girls and young women get an education is a priority for many world bodies and organisations, including RYTHM Foundation, the QI Group’s social impact initiative.
An endeavour seeing to this prerogative is RYTHM’s Maharani Learning Lab (MLL) programme. The initiative focuses on guiding vulnerable girls from low-income and minority communities to empower them to develop holistically and improve their lives. Since MLL’s inception in 2010, RYTHM has worked with over 8,000 adolescent girls with tuition in core subjects, computer classes, self-discovery camps, and mentoring.
Initially active in Sungai Siput, Perak, the Foundation is now creating a new chapter for MLL in the Klang Valley to include the teaching approach of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM).
Santhi explains the MLL programme to young girls from Damansara Damai.
Nurturing Community Changemakers
We recently organised an event to introduce the programme to families from low-income households in Damansara Damai, Selangor. The Head of RYTHM, Santhi Periasamy, showed the Foundation’s plans for the community’s girls.
“We aspire to provide a holistic programme that nurtures girls through academic advancement, technology and digital skills coaching, and personal development,” Santhi said.
“Education is the greatest equaliser, and we want to equip them with the knowledge, skills and opportunities to build better lives. While academic achievement remains necessary and is the key to success, acquiring digital skills has become critical.
“These competencies are essential for students to thrive in the future. Subjects like coding and robotics are niche skills that we will incorporate into the MLL programme in Damansara Damai,” Santhi added.
She appealed to parents to register their daughters for the programme. “Every girl not only deserves an equal chance to survive but also thrive. We want your young daughters to become changemakers in your community.
RYTHM’s Maharani Learning Lab provides girls with the opportunity to become changemakers.
Addressing the Prevailing Issues
Community figures point to numerous setbacks affecting the district’s young, with the prevailing social issues heightening the vulnerability of girls from the area. For example, according to neighbouring Bukit Lanjan community leader T. Loganathan, many families cannot afford tuition for their children.
“It is especially difficult for families with many children. So many miss out on initiatives like this because they have to care for their younger siblings after school while their parents try to earn a living,” Loganathan explained.
Tamil Vaani, a teacher from a vernacular school in neighbouring Sungai Buloh, pointed to school dropouts and truancy as significant concerns.
“There are five clusters of People Housing Projects and low-cost apartments in the area, each with as many as 19 densely-populated blocks. The capacity of the two primary schools and one secondary school catering to these populations is limited,” Ms Tamil noted. “As a result, some children have to travel further to other communes to attend school.”
Loganathan appreciated the preamble to MLL and welcomed the programme’s establishment in the locality.
“This is a good programme because there is a growing realisation by impoverished families that girls deserve equal opportunities. Girls have been looked over for too long. The Maharani Learning Lab is a commendable programme for how it will benefit girls with academic and skills-building guidance.”
He pledged to engage with the area’s other community leaders to “support this programme and get more youngsters to sign up. RYTHM Foundation can count on our help.”
Ms Tamil added, “This locality has not seen a sustainable intervention programme by any other social impact organisation to address these issues. Therefore, establishing the Maharani Learning Lab programme in this locality is crucial and strategic.”
Local community leader T. Loganathan addresses prospective programme participants.