Kuala Lumpur – Women play an important role in economic growth and contribute to the wealth of an economy to a great extent. According to statistics published in August 2020 by the Department of Statistics, Malaysian women’s participation in the labour market was 55.2%, and about 20% of the estimated registered total of more than 650,000 entrepreneurs, are women.
Given the critical role that women play in the nation’s economy, KAO Laurier Malaysia has launched its empowerment series, the ‘Laurier School of Confidence’ (Akademi Keyakinan Laurier) to elevate its existing enrichment programme for girls in secondary schools across Malaysia. KAO Laurier Malaysia is rewarding eligible ‘Laurier School of Confidence’ graduates with a total of RM72,000 in the form of National Education Savings Scheme (Simpan SSPN). The effort is in support of Perbadanan Tabung Pendidikan Tinggi Nasional’s (PTPTN) agenda to cultivate a culture of saving from an early age for higher education.
“KAO Laurier Malaysia advocates that a beautiful girl is informed, empowered and confident. From our long-term ESG programme in schools, we understand the needs of teenage young girls in the pursuit self-confidence. Today we are extremely excited to infuse an exciting addition to our ESG school programme with the ‘Laurier School of Confidence’ empowerment series which harnesses the experiences of inspirational young women from different walks of life into relatable life skills for teenage girls to acquire and apply as they navigate challenges and confidently fulfil their full potential in life,” said KAO (Malaysia) President, Itou Hirofumi.
The ‘Laurier School of Confidence’ empowerment series comprises five succinct video modules on five contemporary topics and features inspiring everyday young Malaysian women who have pushed themselves in pursuit of their dreams. The series is aimed at inspiring teenage girls to develop into the next generation of confident, ambitious women who will actively contribute to community and nation-building.
The topics and contributors are:
1) Dreaming and living out your passions by Maryam Mahmud, an independent figure skater, and her sister, Marina Mahmud, Former Captain of D*Starz SMK (P) Sri Aman Cheer team;
2) Women entrepreneurs by Gabriena Lee, Co-founder of Glampot, a designer consignment boutique;
3) Empowering more females in STEM by Premalatha Selvaraj, Teacher and sole Malaysian winner of the 2021 Google Innovator Academy’s certified coaching award;
4) Women in healthcare by Dr Syazana Ali, Primary Health Care Resident and Founder of NobleDr+; and
5) Grooming and body positivity by Nalisa Alia Amin, Body Acceptance Advocate and Fashion Model.
The ‘Laurier School of Confidence’ series aims to inspire and motivate over 168,000 teenage girls in secondary schools across Malaysia over the course of the next 12 months, beginning June 2022 through to June 2023. Phase One of the series will kick start in schools within the central region, with plans to extend the series to five other regions namely the southern, and northern regions, east coast as well as Sabah and Sarawak.
The ‘Laurier School of Confidence’ empowerment series is open to participants engaged during KAO Laurier Malaysia’s ESG menstrual hygiene education programme conducted virtually in over 290 schools in the central region. In addition to acquiring valuable life skills, participants will also stand a chance to be awarded with up to RM1,500 each in the form an education fund through the Simpan SSPN Prime account.
Simpan SSPN Prime is an education savings product under PTPTN that is shariah compliant and guaranteed by the Government. In a bid to promote and reward the habit of saving among parents and young depositors, account holders will enjoy competitive dividends, and free takaful coverage for savings balance of RM1,000 or more.
“PTPTN, as the leading education fund in Malaysia, welcomes KAO Malaysia’s initiative to cultivate the culture of savings among teenagers. Financial literacy especially for education savings is one of the critical aspects that need to be stressed to teenagers and also young parents amidst the rising cost of education every year. PTPTN welcomes and highly appreciates this collaboration, and we hope that more agencies will come forward and choose Simpan SSPN as an incentive in their programmes,” said PTPTN Chief Executive, Ahmad Dasuki Abdul Majid.
Reiterating KAO Laurier Malaysia’s stand on the importance of education, Itou said, “Education is the key to breaking the poverty cycle and we are happy to see that the number of female students in higher education institutions continues to increase annually. Given that in some quarters, particularly amongst the B40 community, higher education is a luxury, and sharing PTPTN’s vision to encourage more Malaysians to begin saving for higher education early, KAO Laurier Malaysia is happy to be a committed educator of hygiene care in schools across Malaysia and honoured to play a small, but impactful, role in helping deserving participants of the ‘Laurier School of Confidence’ empowerment series kickstart their education savings fund.”
Through its long-term Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) programme, KAO Laurier Malaysia has been a friend to young girls for the past 27 years since 1994, with efforts dedicated at supporting and educating young girls in hygiene care. To date, KAO Laurier Malaysia has touched the lives of over two million students, from over 8,000 schools through the programme.