Maharani is a unique & wholesome programme – Karimah Tan
Former Pintar Foundation Chief Executive Officer Karimah Tan Abdullah recalls the high level of energy from the Maharani trainers during a camp several years ago.
“The trainers were young, full of energy, and were able to connect with the young participants of the Maharani camps. I believe it is because of their youthful approach, the girls were able to open up and share their fears, thoughts and dreams with them,” she said.
“In any training programme, the chemistry between the trainers and the participants is very important for it to be effective. The Maharani trainers had enormous passion and drive which showed in the way they interacted with the girls,” she added.
Through the Pintar Foundation, the Maharani programme was introduced to five schools in Sungai Siput, Perak.
“I see Maharani as a holistic programme with modules which in my opinion are instrumental in building up the girls, their self-confidence, self-worth and the way they see and value themselves,” she said.
The Maharani programme, initiated by RYTHM Foundation in 2010, provides skills and knowledge to girls between the ages of 13 to 16 from poor and marginalised communities, to enable them to identify and work towards achieving their full potential.
Karimah feels the Maharani programme is unique because it is exclusive to at-risk girls.
“There are other programme out there which are unisex in nature but Maharani is unique as it is only for girls and targeted at those from disadvantaged backgrounds,” she added.
She was also appreciative of RYTHM Foundation’s initiatives to share the Maharani modules with other organisations and trainers who could run similar programmes and camps on their own.
“Instead of claiming that this is our programme and only we can run it, the Foundation is generous to share Maharani with others. I appreciate the Foundation’s choice to share and care for others,” she said.
Karimah said four trainers including herself had participated in Phase 1 of the training of trainer (ToT) using the Maharani Training Kit.
“We are grateful that such a great programme was offered to Pintar Foundation so that we could implement it to other schools as well. Unfortunately due to the Covid situation, we were not able to continue with Phase 2,” she said.
Karimah retired from Pintar Foundation in March 2020 but continues to be supportive of the Maharani programme. She feels that the Maharani Learning Lab in Sungai Siput is a true testament of the Foundation’s commitment to the betterment of the girls.
She congratulated the Foundation for its 10th anniversary of the Maharani programme.
“I also wish to commend the Chairperson of the Foundation Datin Sri Umayal Eswaran for doing an excellent job and being highly committed to the Maharani programme. I admire her resilience and wish her and the team all the very best,” she added.
Through the Maharani programme, the girls learn about gender equality, sexual and reproductive health, ethnicity and culture, and the importance of physical and spiritual wellness, giving them the tools to develop into conﬁdent, responsible and civic-minded women.
This article is part of the series to share the journey of Maharani’s 10th anniversary celebration in 2020.