Girl Guides Glow Up Pahang Edition is a noble idea – to prepare young girls for life after school.
This includes helping them to document their resumes and prepare them for interviews, basic skills which are often overlooked.
And this is how three good friends – Cik Puan Panglima Puteri Suraiya Afzan Mohamed Moiz, Hannah Kam and Deena Azmi – came up with the initiative.
Puteri Suraiya, a member of the Pahang royal family, is the Pahang Girl Guides deputy president while Kam and Deena are lawyers by profession.
The debut edition of the programme sees the participation of 30-odd 16-year-olds from various districts in Pahang.
The trio shares their thoughts with Twentytwo13 as to what inspired them to get the programme going, some memorable moments and the long-term goal.
What was the inspiration behind Girl Guides Glow Up Pahang Edition?
Puteri Suraiya: When I learnt that schools in Pahang do not have career fairs for girls who are aged 16 to 17, I realised I had to do something to somewhat prepare them for life post-school and post-university.
This includes things like how to prepare for an interview, write a curriculum vitae (CV) and look for internships.
At first, we curated something that mostly revolved around vocational skills training but when we spoke to the girls and asked them about their ambitions, we received a wide range of aspirations – including wanting to become doctors, lawyers and teachers.
Thus, we came up with the idea to interview professionals to show the girls what to expect, i.e. a day in the life of a doctor or a chief executive officer, and to also get them to understand what they should be doing now in school to reach their goals.
How many girl guides are involved in this project?
Deena: There are 36 girls – all aged 16. They will be sitting for their SPM examinations next year.
We chose this age because it’s a good time for them to start thinking about career options.
What were some of the memorable moments when interacting with the participants?
Deena: The girls try very hard at completing their homework with great results. It is super impressive.
One participant completed her video homework by doing a stop motion animation drawing. It was creative, innovative and different.
Kam: Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Glow Up is 100 per cent online. Every week, we set a theme and post a video with interviews from specialists in that particular field, e.g. this week (Week 4) the theme is design and the interviews are with architects and weavers from Institut Kemahiran Tenun Pahang DiRaja.
Each week, the students will be given a homework task based on the theme. This week their assignment is to create a “mood board” for their dream house with the requirement of having an aspect of tenun in that house.
The three co-founders of Glow Up will then give personalised feedback to each of the 36 girls, commenting on the positive aspects of their homework and identifying areas of improvement, which the girls can apply in upcoming weeks’ homework.
We have really enjoyed the girls’ creativity through their homework and watching them improve and grow as the weeks go by.
This continuous exchange – of homework and personalised feedback – is unique and critical because it ensures a consistent channel of communication and helps us track the progress of each girl through these eight weeks.
Do you think this would kickstart a nationwide movement?
Deena: We hope it does! There are various programmes out there of course, but Girl Guides is a long established programme with a very wide outreach network and we believe with the right modules and mentors, all the girls in Malaysia can shine and Girl Guides Pahang would love to collaborate with other states.
Kam: This is very much our hope, and it is exactly why we started Glow Up.
Personally, my reasons are two-fold. First, I firmly believe individuals have different interests and talents, and should be encouraged to pursue those. We need to change the somewhat outdated perception that young people need to be forced into the traditional academic route even if this is not what they are passionate about.
If we support young people in whatever field they love, it will allow them to flourish, which will in turn be a great asset to our communities.
With this in mind, our intention is to expose the girls to the different career and higher education options out there, so that they can make their own choices about what they want to do after SPM.
Second, I believe even for people who decide to venture into the academic world and/or a corporate job, it is still really beneficial to learn skills outside that particular field. This is especially so now during the unprecedented pandemic, where so many people have been laid off or who simply wish to earn some extra income while working from home.
In one of our Glow Up modules, we learnt from a home baker how she started her business and we believe this has shown the girls that there are many different things one can learn and do to make a living and most importantly, to be passionate about whatever they choose.
We hope Glow Up will not only assist the participating girls find their future career paths, but will also create awareness about the importance of wider skills training programmes outside the classroom.
What is the long-term plan for the programme?
Puteri Suraiya: We have gained some interest even from non-Girl Guides members. Some girls who heard about this programme have asked to join.
That could be an option to explore by roping in more girls and non-Girl Guides.
Our next step is to do something similar to Glow Up but with more practical entrepreneurship workshops for the ladies in the Clover Girl Guides branch.
The members are aged 18 to 30 and I feel such a programme will greatly benefit those who are already looking for jobs or are interested to start their own business.
The long-term plan is to have a platform that is accessible to those who need advice or training to get them to where they envision themselves.
The advice will be provided by professionals and/or mentors. It is a long road ahead but this is something that is lacking and we must push to provide this service for all young girls out there.