Vale Committed to Empowering Single Mothers in Manjung

Vale in Malaysia is committed to expanding its collaboration with Pertubuhan Ibu Tunggal Kebangsaan Malaysia Parlimen Lumut to empower the single mothers community in Manjung by improving their lives and livelihoods.

Its Chief Executive Officer, Rodrigo Ribeiro de Araújo, said that the commitment is in line with Vale’s global strategy to empower local communities in locations where it operates through socio-environmental investments.

“Based on the outcome of a pilot programme launched with the association to teach sewing as a form of trade to single mothers, Vale is keen to expand the programme. When we empower women, we empower the community.

“Sewing is a skill that can be monetized, even from home. There is a significant demand for cottage products, such as curtains, tablecloths and souvenirs, and with the growth of the tourism sector in Manjung, we project this demand to increase further,” he said.

At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic last year, Vale reached out to various Manjung-based NGOs that share its values, to identify the specific needs of vulnerable communities that were affected due to unsteady income and working informal jobs. Since the pandemic began, Vale has invested RM2 million on various socio-environmental initiatives to uplift the communities in Manjung.

“We engaged the association and were informed about the work they are doing for the single- mothers community in Manjung. We did our due diligence and decided not only to assist by providing food baskets and back-to-school assistance, but also to empower them by helping them generate more income. In December, we launched the pilot sewing initiative,” he said.

Last year, Vale announced its commitment to uplift 500,000 people out of extreme poverty globally, aligned with its new pact with the society.

According to Zarina Mohamed Ekhwan, the chairperson of the association, the pilot sewing programme saw 10 women signing up for it. She said Vale engaged a professional sewing seamstress and provided 10-units of portable sewing machines.

“Several of the participants have started home-based sewing businesses and are already receiving orders for items such as curtains. We hope that they will get more orders leading up to Hari Raya.

“We are very appreciative of the assistance and collaboration provided by Vale as it will definitely help our members provide better lives for their families. As part of the collaboration, we will work with Vale to expand the programme and include modules such as online marketing so that these budding entrepreneurs will reach a larger audience,” she said. The association has 350 members within the Lumut Parliamentary district.

Members of the association who have participated in the programme strongly encourage other women to take advantage of such opportunities. Thirty-four-year-old Khurratu Aini Hashim said, “Programmes such as this are hard to come by. This programme has certainly allowed me to broaden my knowledge in sewing and helped me improve my craft. This has led to higher demand for my services and in doing so, increased my income significantly. For that, I am truly appreciative.”

Another participant, Nor Khalijah Mat Tayibi, said that the programme has helped boost her confidence and she plans on using the knowledge gained to start her own business in the future.


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