“I liked to draw when I was young but I never knew I had the talent to paint a mural,” Monisha said.
“I would not have discovered my potential and ability if not for the Maharani coordinator Ms M. Barathy Devi at the MLL who encouraged my talent and gave me the opportunity to work on the mural. It was just a hobby but the encouragement helped me to realise my potential,” she said.
Working on the mural gave Monisha clarity about what she wanted to do with her life. She dropped out of the Accounts programme in school and enrolled in Arts instead.
“When my mother came to the MLL and saw the mural, she was very proud of me. She also supported my decision to change to the Arts programme after seeing that my interest was in the creative field,” she said.
Growing up as the only child to a single mother who is a florist, Monisha was 13 when she first came to know about the Maharani programme.
“Some of my friends had attended the Maharani camps and after they returned, they could not stop talking about the journey, the new friends they made, and the
activities they were involved in there. I listened attentively and wanted to experience it too,” she said.
Monisha then enrolled in the Maharani programme and attended all the three phases of the Maharani camps.
“I enjoyed all the activities especially the walk in the middle of the night during one of the camps that is meant to help us overcome our fears. I was so afraid of ghosts and terrified I would run into one. Luckily, that didn’t happen,” she recalls with a smile.
The former student of SMK Abdul Haji Wahab said the skills and classes taught at the MLL such as baking, and flower arrangement brought out the creative side of the Maharani girls.
“It also gave us ideas on pursuing these interests full time and making a career out of it. Some of us even thought about starting a business using our new skills such as baking cakes and cupcakes as well as fresh flowers arrangement for special occasions such as Teacher’s Day or Mother’s Day,” she said.
“Maharani taught me to be independent and gave me the courage to face my problems without fear. I also made a lot of friends and have good memories from the camps and classes,” she said.
Today, while still enjoying art as her hobby, Monisha is undergoing a nursing internship at Hospital Fatimah, some 30 kilometres away from her home in Sungai Siput.
“During a thyroid check-up at a government hospital, I saw the way the nurses attended to the patients there. I realised how noble the profession is and wanted to be of service to others,” said the 21-year-old.
“Because I am dependent on public transportation, I leave my house by 6:20am and only return home around 7:30pm. It is very tiring, but I am glad I could be of service to others. Moreover, the internship experience is very enriching and I really want to pursue a career in nursing,” she added.
Monisha has applied for a scholarship to do a Diploma in Nursing. She hopes to get the scholarship to support her education as she does not want to burden her mother.
The Maharani programme was established by RYTHM Foundation to encourage young at-risk girls to discover their strength and skills while enhancing their self-esteem.