Meet The 26-Year-Old M'sian Who Runs Upskilling Programmes To Tackle Youth Unemployment

She was also recognised by Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia this year!

Cover image via Raudhah Nazran (Provided to SAYS)

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When it comes to large-scale examinations like SPM, most Malaysians breathe a sigh of relief once it's all over and done with.

That wasn't the case, however, for Raudhah Nazran.

In an interview with this SAYS writer, Raudhah starts her story from when she completed SPM, in which she had successfully scored 9A's.

"When I finished SPM, I was really bored. Something about me is I can't really sit still for a long time, I get really anxious.

"And I remember when I was 18, literally a few months after finishing SPM, I started my own non-governmental organisation (NGO), which back then was called Khalifa'. We gave food to the homeless, taught English at orphanages, and ran weekend activities for the elderly as well," she explained.

While she was content with providing humanitarian aid during that time, something just didn't sit right with her

Whilst feeding the homeless, she recalled that she kept on thinking, what about tomorrow? What will happen to them in the next month, and what happens when they run out of donations? 

Even though they rallied for crowdfunding, and private donors were more than happy to donate, she still felt an uneasy feeling in her heart.

"It was more like I didn't want to be a part of this vicious cycle. Now, I'm not saying that immediate aid is not important, obviously feeding the homeless must happen. But what also must happen is, what's next? What is the programme that can help them stand on their own two feet?

"Whilst we give them the aid, while we give them the financial and non-financial, we must also be able to provide them with something more sustainable, so they can then take their life head-on," the 26-year-old opined.

It wasn't until Raudhah went to the United Kingdom (UK) to further her studies that she was exposed to the concept of social entrepreneurship

After successfully bagging a scholarship with Jabatan Perkhidmatan Awam (JPA), she flew to the UK to complete her law degree. During her first year in uni, she had the opportunity to become the project leader for a project called SHE Inspires in Ghana. 

The social enterprise helped former sex-trafficked women stand on their own two feet by giving them the entrepreneurial skills to start their own businesses.

The SHE Inspires project was aimed towards helping women in Ghana.

Image via Raudhah Nazran (Provided to SAYS)

Narrating the dire situation in Ghana, Raudhah explains that nobody wanted to accept these women because of their social status.

"Nobody wanted to even give them a chance at employment. And so, they were left hanging, they couldn't work, they couldn't make money, and oftentimes just went back to the trafficking jobs they had before. So, after we ran the entrepreneurship programme, the girls now actually have their own bridal shop in Ghana!

"And I saw how beautiful and sustainable that journey was for them, because it's not just about giving them financial aid, it's also about making sure they know what to do with it, making sure that they can roll that money over and actually start something out of nothing, to fund their lives moving forward. And I loved that," she shared.

Upon returning to Malaysia, she finally found her true calling: to tackle youth unemployment, particularly among the underprivileged.

And that is when Accelerate Global was born.

Entrepreneurship programme in Sabah.

Image via Raudhah Nazran (Provided to SAYS)

As a social enterprise, Accelerate Global aims to tackle the issue of youth unemployment by providing youth, especially underprivileged and marginalised youths, with upskilling programmes in the area of entrepreneurship, career, and personal growth.

"All of our programmes are curated with the help of our own beneficiaries. When we run an entrepreneurship programme, we actually have a one-month-long needs and wants assessment whereby the beneficiaries will help give feedback on the programme structure, whether or not they can relate to it, and whether or not the language used is something that they are comfortable with, essentially," she explained.

Raudhah (middle) with the rest of the team at Accelerate Global.

Image via Raudhah Nazran (Provided to SAYS)

Now that Accelerate Global is three years in, Raudhah was happy to share that all of the participants who have graduated from their programmes are now entrepreneurs, and have started their own businesses!

"I love that everyone excelled, and I love that about my team as well, because it's not just us saying that we’re gonna tackle the situation, there are results that we can show to our investors and stakeholders as well," she said enthusiastically.

Understanding the need to reach more youths, Raudhah shares that they recently launched an e-learning progamme known as Aceducation

Available via Google Play and the App Store, the educational app allows youths to access Accelerate Global's programmes anytime, anywhere, as it stores all their signature programmes.

Since the physical programmes were mostly for the underpriviliged, Raudhah informed us that many privileged youths came to her and asked if they could enrol in Accelerate Global's programmes as well.

"But at the time we were a really small team, there were only two and a half of us (cause that half was an intern). So we decided, you know what? Let's digitise these programmes, because the privileged users were also asking for something virtual, that they can just learn at any time without having to commit a certain time in the week," she said.

With every single annual subscription fee paid in full, one underprivileged youth will be given access to Aceducation for free. 

"If you subscribe, that's RM300 a year (making it less than RM1 per day) for Aceducation, you can give access to an underprivileged youth who is in need of the opportunity to learn," she said.

Raudhah shares an inspiring story about Accelerate Global graduate Afifah, who is an anak asnaf from Kelantan

Afifah with her products at the YOUths Pocket Summit.

Image via Raudhah Nazran (Provided to SAYS)

"We ran a virtual programe with anak asnaf last year, and I remember asking the class if they had any questions. She unmuted herself, and when she asked a question, that was when I realised that she tuned in and sat in the class while actually selling goreng pisang by the roadside! 

"When she was asking her question, I could hear the customers saying like, 'three ringgit, five ringgit', and she was also talking to the customers after she answered my question, which she didn't manage to mute herself as fast. So whenever I tell this story, I still get chills in my heart," Raudhah said.

She also shares Taufiq's story, a polytechnic student who signed up for Accelerate Global's free entrepreneurship trial class last year

Taufiq speaking during the YOUths Pocket Summit.

Image via Raudhah Nazran (Provided to SAYS)

Raudhah tells us that while she was teaching the online class conducted in English, she noticed that Taufiq was writing almost all the time, and he asked questions in Malay. That was when she realised that she should have mixed her language a little bit so that he could understand the class.

"After the trial class ended, I asked him to stay back, and I learned that he did not come from a privileged family and that he had always wanted to enrol in Accelerate Global's classes because he wanted to start a business. So I apologised for not speaking in Malay, and asked him why didn't he ask me to speak in Malay? To which he replied, 'It's okay, I actually recorded the session and made my own translation after it ended'."

Taufiq with his product at the YOUth Pocket Summit.

Image via Raudhah Nazran (Provided to SAYS)

Raudhah found this effort on Taufiq's part to be inspirational, as it showed his determination to do everything he could to learn regardless of the challenges.

"And now, he has started his own business! He was invited to give a talk at one of our panel sessions, which is absolutely fantastic. I love that he embraced who he is, he speaks Malay, and he's not shy, although he struggles to speak English. He still puts himself out there to actually just be known and sell his products," she said proudly.

Because of Taufiq, she decided to open up a scholarship programme for their private stakeholders to sponsor underprivileged youths who are not under any corporates, so they may enrol in Accelerate Global's programme. 

The best way for the rakyat to help, according to Raudhah, is to subscribe to Aceducation

"Sorry, I probably sound like a salesgirl right now," Raudhah jokes, "But really, that is the way at the moment, as we are in the midst of trying to raise our subscriber numbers. Because when our annual subscribers increase, we can help more underprivileged youths. We've actually partnered up with a lot of foundations, refugees, B40 groups, anak asnaf, and more. And so these youths under these foundations are just waiting to be sponsored, in other words.

"And so I'm calling for all the rakyat to come on board, subscribe to our platform, upskill yourself, whilst also upskilling others. Because when you learn, someone else will too. And I believe it is time for us to stop relying on external aids, I think its time for us to start creating change in our own capacity, and with the annual subscription, I believe every single one of us has the capability to create impact and to create change," she said.

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