“If you give a man a fish, you feed him for a day. If you teach a man to fish, you feed him for a lifetime.”
This quote resonates with the principle that it is better to do things which bear fruit for the long run, as opposed to providing short-term solutions that only solve problems for a short duration.
The Brickfields Asia College Education Group learnt this the hard way, when they reached out to the Malaysian community to provide assistance and solutions for problems faced by various groups, particularly vulnerable groups of people.
Initially, the BAC Education Group established the “BAC Gives BACk” effort as their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) arm, to give back to society. Unfortunately, the effort, though viable, was only able to provide ad-hoc solutions and short-termed initiatives in assisting the community, which were not effective in the long-run. Therefore, Mr. Raja Singham, Founder and Managing Director of the BAC Education Group, reached out to a good friend; Mr. Brian Lariche.
Mr.Brian is a CSR consultant who has vast experience in community engagement programmes and has written, translated, and published, numerous books, manuals, and brochures, on socio-medical issues and governance, to assist in providing a more structured and efficient CSR arm, for community development.
Hence, in September 2015, the Make It Right Movement (MIRM) was founded, and is now the official community service initiative of the BAC Education Group. With the aim to create a positive impact on society, in line with its mission to enrich communities and transform lives, MIRM collaborates with over 250 national and global partners – governmental and non-government organisations and social enterprises, to champion worthy causes. MIRM supports more than 400 charities and community development projects, annually. Leveraging on the resources of the BAC Education Group, coupled with the funding received from numerous established local and international bodies, MIRM has transitioned from a cost centre to being self-sustaining, whilst curating, managing, and supporting, meaningful community projects and engagements with partners and affiliates.
Figure 1: Members of BAC’s Rare Diseases Club had the opportunity to work with MIRM to host “The Walk of Hope” – A Community Service project to raise funds for those with rare diseases.
Since its inception, MIRM has focused on capacity building for various non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and social enterprises (SEs), through curating and conducting training and holistic assistance on how to provide higher levels of proficiency and efficiency – i.e. increasing output and outreach at a lower and decreasing costs. For example, MIRM has an in-house design and printing team to assist NGOs in printing and curating collaterals, such as Public Service Announcement (PSA) videos, buntings, brochures, and posters at minimised costs. MIRM, leveraging on BAC provides logistical support to partners and affiliates, including providing cost-free venue space for workshops, organising catering, and creating publicity for events via social media.
Furthermore, MIRM has also assisted various NGOs in raising funds for their causes. For example, MIRM has organized a movie screening and covered the costs of booking the cinema and movie tickets to which the same were then provided to the NGOs to be sold to the public, whereby the entire proceeds will go to the NGO’s cause. MIRM has also run CSR-related and fund raising workshops, for various organisations and corporate bodies upon request, besides providing CSR consultancy services pursuant to its experience in community development.
Over the years, in striving towards sustainability, MIRM has been proactive in applying for, and obtaining seed funding from established national and international bodies in curating and implementing impactful community development initiatives. For example, one of the big projects MIRM has been able to accomplish; was obtaining grants from government bodies such as the Malaysian Indian Transformation Unit (MITRA), to pilot the Integrate Women Empowerment Project as part of its B40 alleviation initiatives, as well as grants from international organisations including the World Health Organization (WHO). MIRM has also bid for and was awarded grants to pilot projects that fulfilled the objectives and sustainable development goals (SGDs) of the United Nations.
This is to show that the MIRM team is made up of competent professionals and is also worthy of advising other entities on how to manage themselves. Furthermore, other than being an organization that is able to carry itself well, MIRM also stands strong and proud in working with other local and international organisations and NGOs in furthering their causes, including UNHCR, Aflatoun International, and the Child Rights Coalition Malaysia (CRCM).
Figure 2: MIRM Supported the charity movie screening of “Ant-Man and the Wasp” to raise funds for SPCA Kajang which managed to raise a total of RM 6,800.
Figure 3: Women of Will Entrepreneurship Development (WOWED) training location was provided by MIRM.
Currently, MIRM is seeking to go one step beyond its current approach and advocate for Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) in a bigger way. 70% of the workforce of MIRM itself consists of PWDs, including the CEO of MIRM, Mr. Brian Lariche who is of restricted movement and Ms. Amanda Kong Hwei Zhen, who is visually impaired with congenital glaucoma. However, these obstacles are of no match for their determination and persistence in seeking to reach out to other PWDs and to create a more inclusive and diverse society. Since October 2018, MIRM started to manage the SpecialJobs website (specialjobs.com.my) which is an online job platform where individuals with special needs may upload their resumes or portfolios and seek employment opportunities. The website also provides employers with a dedicated space for job postings offering inclusive employment.
Figure 4: Digi consulted the Make It Right Movement to release the “Inclusive Digital Touchpoints Playbook”. The playbook shares insights from Digi’s research and direct feedback from the Persons With Disabilities (PWDs) community
Therefore, MIRM is an organization that stands proud in employing people based on their abilities and skills, regardless of their disabilities. Currently, the design team of MIRM fully consists of PWDs, and some associates are from the refugee community. It is amazing to see that they are able to move beyond their comfort zone in adapting to the work environment and achieving great things despite their obstacles. For example, Ms. Rachel Siew Suet Li was born with a rare genetic disorder known as Morquio syndrome, which prevents the body from breaking down sugar chains, and affects body growth. However, it is inspiring to see that these obstacles did not stop her from being an advocate for Rare Diseases.
Throughout the years in which MIRM has been active, it is clear that this organisation as well as the BAC Education Group, is unlike any other college, and an important organ of the community that does not just talk the talk but walks the talk (while providing platforms for others to walk as well), with multiple initiatives such as FreeMakan, MCOMart, SpecialJobs and many other projects. It is hoped that with the collective contributions and involvement of other community members, more communities will be enriched and their lives transformed.