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Building Fundamental Skills For The Next Generation Of Leaders

posted 4 Jun 2018, 18:48 by iConnect@ F&N   [ updated 4 Jun 2018, 18:49 ]

Hulu Langat – A lack of self-confidence had often prevented 16-year-old Muhammad Aiman from speaking in front of people and striking up​ conversations with strangers. However, the Form Four resident of Rumah Ilham has now overcome his shyness and embraced talking to people from different backgrounds, thanks to an on-going leadership programme and a recent two-day, one-night leadership camp held at Nur Lembah Pangsun Eco Resort recently, organised by Fraser & Neave Holdings Bhd (F&NHB).

“The leadership camp was fun and not only taught us ways of building our self-confidence and essentials to having a powerful mindset but also the importance of effective communication. I didn’t realise how body language especially eye contact, gestures and voice projection played a crucial role in boosting our confidence level but now I know it can help improve our communication and people skills.

“During the camp, each of us was given the opportunity to apply what we have learned by speaking in front of an audience. The facilitators were supportive and helped identify our weaknesses so that we can be better communicators. Until today, I remember the positive tagline, “Believe in who you are” from the camp which gives me the strength to rise above life’s challenges during hard times,” said Muhammad Aiman who aspires to be a chef.

The leadership camp was part of F&NHB’s “Making A Difference” (M.A.D.) project for 42 children aged between nine and 17 years old from Rumah Ilham, held in partnership with Leaderonomics, a social enterprise dedicated to transforming communities through leadership development.

The initiative aims to empower the young orphans with the knowledge, tools and skills needed for them to devise effective solutions to real-world problems and develop their confidence and sense of independence through mentorship and nurturing practical skills.

Earlier this year, F&NHB conducted an assessment that emphasised the Awareness, Vision and Plan (AVP) concept to identify four levels of competency for the children of Rumah Ilham. The assessment results showed that most of the Rumah Ilham children have low self-confidence and do not have the capacity to manage the issues that they face.

Hence, the leadership camp focused on addressing the children’s weaknesses and helping them to strengthen their self-esteem, developing the children’s critical-thinking and problem-solving skills to resolve problems in life, and empowering the children to explore their creative side and think outside the box.

Cariessa Goh, F&NHB Corporate Affairs Manager said that the AVP exercise is part of F&NHB’s three-year plan to better understand the children’s learning journey and build their sense of responsibility and ownership toward improving their personal and educational development.

“The plan which runs from 2018 to 2020 is a long-term development programme that encourages the Rumah Ilham children to be active contributing members of the community to enact positive change for the betterment of the society at large. As the world is rapidly changing, the youth need to acquire relevant skills and traits in order to thrive and succeed in life.

“The future of our country lies in the hands of our youth. Children are filled with passion and tremendous ambitions. It will be a waste if we do not foster a conducive environment to enhance their talent and capabilities. Our three-year plan is designed to build character in the Rumah Ilham children and lead them to navigate today’s fast-paced world in the right direction so that they can reach their fullest potential,” she added.

In the long run, F&NHB targets to significantly improve the Rumah Ilham children’s competencies, self-esteem and academic performance. This will inevitably lead to a higher number of secondary school graduates, greater access to tertiary education and better employment opportunities. Currently, F&NHB’s initiative with Rumah Ilham has garnered 30 per cent youth participation and aims to achieve 70 per cent youth involvement by 2020.

During the leadership camp, four Leaderonomics facilitators guided the Rumah Ilham children in various activities which covered entrepreneurship, resilience, emotional intelligence, strong communication skills and community-driven values.

The sessions included ‘Rumah Ilham Leadership Pit Stop’ that highlighted the children’s researched ideas of their first session in March to a mid-point check in May; ‘Mid-Point Check’ which equipped the children with organisational skills to manage their teams and tasks; ‘Game On! (Fireman Simulation)’ that brought the children together to create a strong bond as a group and taught them the power of teamwork and healthy competition; ‘Screens’ that played a movie on how one can execute a project and work in a team; ‘T.E.A.M.’ which enabled the children to partake in a series of challenges as they learned how to grow as a team; ‘Confidence!’, aimed at understanding the importance of confidence and breaking out of their comfort zones; ‘Pitch Out!’ which gave the children an avenue to present their ideas to a panel of judges; and ‘What’s Next?’ that motivated the children to figure out the next step forward and how they can apply what they have learned in their daily lives.

On the final day of the camp, the children went jungle trekking and enjoyed the calm ambience of the Perdik waterfall, 1.5 hours away from the eco resort. The leadership camp ended with a prize giving ceremony for the children who did well in numerous activities during the two-day programme.

Another camp participant, 17-year-old Muhammad Roni said that the programme experience opened his eyes to the importance of teamwork and being adaptable in facing any obstacles in life. 

“I truly enjoyed the Amazing Race whereby we were divided into groups of five to solve puzzles in order to find clues to win the game. We had to communicate clearly to our teammates and establish trust within the team to overcome the challenges. Overall, the activities at the camp were not only enjoyable but also showed us that anything is possible if we believe in ourselves and others and be flexible in order to adapt to whatever life throws our way,” said the Form Five student who wishes to become an electrical engineer.

The skills acquired at the leadership camp will later come in handy at a M.A.D. project which will be held on July 7, 2018 at the Kampung Baru Hicom mosque. The event offers the Rumah Ilham children an opportunity to become facilitators themselves and come up with their own ideas to create a one-day leadership development programme for children from the surrounding community, based on their key learnings from the camp. 

“We received a positive response from the Rumah Ilham children and we are delighted that they enjoyed themselves immensely during the camp. We are committed to the children’s constant growth and will continue to explore effective and fun ways to encourage them to become better individuals who have a much greater sense of what it takes to accomplish goals and motivate others to handle challenges positively,” Goh added. 

F&NHB’s relationship with Rumah Ilham began in 2009 when it built the ‘Sudut Iqra’ library for the children and have continued to support the home and the children ever since. F&NHB has invested more than RM135,000 in development programmes for the children since 2015 and look forward to providing continuous guidance to them.