Scholarships are a vital part of Malaysia’s education landscape.
Every year, government and private institutions award billions of ringgit to secondary school graduates to nurture future industry leaders and develop the socioeconomic landscape. Despite the high number of scholarships available to aspiring university students however, many are still left behind, unable to find ways to pay their way through university.
But one innovative startup known as TalentLabs is opening new doors for Malaysia’s brightest, yet underserved minds with full scholarships. Through their social arm – the Digital Society Fund, they equip students with technological expertise to transform their futures and empower them to uplift their own communities.
While TalentLabs is only about a year old, they’ve already partnered with Taylor’s University to provide full scholarships for two young women – Michelle Ling and Thascuevta Prabhakaran – both straight A students who have a passion for technology.
Meet Michelle and Thas, Two Young Visionaries with Big Hearts
“My goal is to develop a user-friendly app to assist the mentally challenged with improving their academic studies and navigate their daily basic needs.”
18-year-old Michelle reveals a hint of daring resolve in her eyes as she explains her long-term ambitions. Indeed, Taylor’s University’s Lakeside Campus – which spans 27 acres with modern buildings and sweeping views of greater Kuala Lumpur – is a sharp contrast to her humble hometown of Miri in Sarawak. Michelle is pursuing her diploma in Computing & IT and has plans to graduate with either a degree in Computer Science or Software Engineering.
“I chose to focus my studies on technology, because the world is going digital and companies are embracing this inevitable trend as it makes everyday processes more efficient and easier to conduct.”
On the other hand, 18-year-old Thascuevta – known amongst family and friends as Thas – has her sights set on leaving her own mark in the tech industry.
“I want to disrupt the industry and serve the underprivileged – there are a lot issues technology can help address that mankind hasn’t fully explored.”
Thas is currently pursuing her foundation in Computing. As is the case with Michelle, both Thas’ pre-university and living expenses are fully covered by TalentLabs’ Digital Society Fund – this will also apply for their degree-level studies.
“TalentLabs also helped me to find accommodation close to my campus, so I don’t have to worry about finding and paying for transportation,” Michelle notes with relief.
Beyond Funding – A Hands-On Approach
TalentLabs not only supports students financially, but also goes above and beyond to guide the programme’s candidates throughout their academic journey, as Thas describes.
“Even after being awarded the scholarship, TalentLabs has been constantly present. The leadership team regularly checks up on me and guides me in developing my soft skills, which are important for my employability in the future. They conduct workshops on time management, sharpening our social skills, and developing our leadership capabilities.”
While the first few weeks of Thas and Michelle’s pre-university studies have been hectic and as they take in the vibrant energy of both campus and city life, they take a moment to reflect on what TalentLabs’ initiative means to them – and their families – in affording them a very privileged opportunity.
“This scholarship means the world to me,” Michelle acknowledges. “It’s relieved my family from financial burden and has enabled me to fully concentrate on my studies.”
As for Thas, TalentLab’s Digital Society Fund has allowed her to start fulfilling her dreams that would otherwise have not happened. As she explains, she starts to get emotional – and understandably so.
“My mother is the only one providing for the family, as my father suffers from a heart condition and is unable to work. She not only has to provide on my dad’s behalf, but also has to make sure she earns enough to take care of one of my brothers, who suffers from mental conditions. Before I stumbled upon TalentLabs, I had to work part time while waiting for my SPM results to help support the family.”
But despite their past hardships, both young women are optimistic about their futures.
Michelle concludes, with confidence, “I believe that nothing is impossible – my scholarship is living evidence that the sky is truly the limit.”
Want to partner with TalentLabs and drive positive change in Malaysia?
If you’d like to open new doors for many young and talented Malaysians like Michelle and Thas, TalentLabs is always on the lookout for sustainable partnerships that prioritise opportunities to close the digital divide between future generations. If you’d like to work with TalentLabs, feel free to reach out to TalentLabs’ Director, Shawn Yip, or find out more through their website:
- E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website: http://www.digitalsocietyfund.org/