By RYTHM Foundation
Three underprivileged students from the Maharani Learning Lab set up by RYTHM Foundation had a cause for celebration after receiving good results in the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) 2020 examination, despite having the odds stacked against them.
It is thanks to the Learning Lab that provided them with academic support and classes that impart life skills to empower these girls with the tools to carry them through life’s challenges.
Priya Sri Vijayan and Deepthi Nair both scored 7As and 2Bs, while Elavarasi Thamil Thasan scored 6As and 4Bs in the exam. However, getting there was not without some blood, sweat and tears for the trio, all 18-year-olds from Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Datuk Haji Abdul Wahab in Sungai Siput, Perak.
The three students would like to thank their teachers and coordinators at Maharani Learning Lab who provided their best in guiding them along their bumpy SPM 2020 journey. The biggest hurdle they encountered when preparing for the exam was the lack of a positive mindset, even more so with the prevailing COVID-19 pandemic which had been even more challenging than these students expected.
Elavarasi drew motivation from the lessons she learned during her time at the Maharani Learning Lab. She recalled how the teachers and the lead coordinator of the programme, Barathy Devi, would constantly offer encouragement to the students.
“They reminded us to chase our dreams and not feel down because there’s always someone to help us. When I felt demotivated, I would think about how there’s always someone willing to help me no matter what happens, and I would feel like I needed to try harder because I had support. I don’t know if I believed in myself, but they believed in me more and this really helped me move forward,” noted Elavarasi, a science stream student.
The girls also paid tribute to their fathers, for all their support and encouragement. Elavarasi‘s father Thamil Thasan is a plantation worker while Priya Sri’s father Vijayan works at an oil palm plantation. Meanwhile, Deepthi is the daughter of Perabagaran, a cement factory employee. For the record, the girls altogether scored As in Mathematics, Science, Bahasa Malaysia (Malay language), Tamil, Tamil Literature, Moral Education, History and Principle of Accounting.
“Besides having to cope with the daily struggles of attending our normal classes and other chores at home since the start of our secondary schooling, it was also tough to be self-disciplined and to leave behind all distractions in order to prepare and revise for SPM. For this, we sincerely would like to thank our respected School and Maharani Learning Lab teachers for constantly guiding and motivating us to strive for better academic achievements,” shared the trio.
Elavarasi, who has been with the Maharani programme since Form 2, joined their academic classes which helped her score 10As in the 2018 PT3 exams. She attended all the three camps at Maharani in addition to taking up the Indian classical Bharatanatyam dance there. Elavarasi now wants to complete her STPM examination and aspires to become a graduate teacher. Priya Sri, who also attended dancing, cooking and handicraft classes at the Maharani Learning Lab, aims to pursue her studies at a local polytechnic to fulfil her dream of becoming an accountant while Deepthi wants to do her STPM examination in order to pursue her dream of studying Law.
The Maharani Learning Lab, established in 2015 by RYTHM Foundation, the social impact initiative of the QI Group, is the Foundation’s flagship program benefiting young women from marginalised communities in Malaysia. It has helped over 7,500 girls in Malaysia between the ages of 13 to 16 from poor and marginalised communities with the provision of camps, skills and knowledge. Through the Maharani Programme, the girls learn about gender, 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.