Footprints Project Enables Youth to Embrace Mentorship Roles
 
Jul 27, 2021
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PETALING JAYA, 22nd July 2021: Footprints, a mentorship programme initiated by RYTHM Foundation, the social impact initiative of the QI Group, continues to provide youth with opportunities to develop their talents and in a life-changing experience for them. Besides providing mentorship and leadership opportunities, it has also inspired and motivated them to promote the culture of mentoring for youth.

Initially, the project paired disadvantaged children aged nine to 12 from orphanages and community centres with staff of the QI Group, who took on the mantle of mentors to the young ones with the aim of creating a positive impact in their lives. Over the years, the programme has evolved to include another group of people stepping into the role of mentors – the students of Quest International University (QIU), the education arm of the QI Group.

“I really wanted to do something for society, but I didn’t know the way to do it until I went to QIU, and after so many sessions with my mentee, I realised that while she was working on herself, I was working on myself too. Getting involved in the Footprints mentoring programme gave me a sense of identity and calm. I think it helped me heal too, and it was like community service for the soul,” says Jinesyah, now a 24-year-old mass communication graduate.

Since 2018, the Footprints project has been a collaborative effort between QIU and the Maharani Learning Lab (MLL), another social impact programme spearheaded by RYTHM Foundation. The MLL provides academic support to underprivileged teenage girls and equips them with life skills. With the new alliance, the Footprints project was restructured to empower the adolescent girls with a hope for the future while exposing them to different environments, cultures, knowledge, and education opportunities with the support of a mentor.

Jinesyah was one of 14 QIU undergraduates who signed up to be a mentor in the six-month pilot of the revamped Footprints Project back in 2018. This initial group of mentors also included Samantha Dina Dass who was studying for a bachelor’s in special needs education at the time and both girls underwent a stringent selection and vetting process as well as intensive training to ensure they could be positive role models to the adolescents.

In comparison with Jinesyah, 24-year-old Samantha who is currently a special needs educator had some prior experience volunteering, but in a different environment. She shares, “For me the training was very helpful because this mentoring programme was one-on-one, so I needed to learn how to understand the person and their emotions first rather than immediately launching into action to help like I normally would in group-oriented volunteer activities.”

Head of RYTHM Foundation, Santhi Periasamy notes that the training of mentors ensures that young people achieve their full potential and are better equipped with the necessary knowledge and skills to engage with and empower their mentees. She explains, “The intensive two-day session covers vital topics like rapport boundaries, emotional intelligence, basic counselling, communication skills, listening skills, problem-solving skills, and other applicable tools. The training also includes a module on setting goals for the future to enable the newly appointed mentors to support their mentees in discovering their direction in life.”

Santhi also pointed out that the foundation was all set to kick start the latest intake of the mentorship programme at the end of June this year. However the COVID-19 pandemic and the extension of the Movement Control Order (MCO) threw a spanner in their plans. Despite this, she says the foundation is optimistic in the face of the pandemic and has recently completed a virtual training of 20 new mentors from QIU to keep the programme going. The training was conducted via Google Meets by 14 QIU lecturers who covered a range of topics.

The foundation has also set up a contingency plan to adapt the mentorship programme to a virtual platform if the MCO is extended once more as students have already been selected to be enrolled into the programme. QIU intends to incorporate Footprints as a core programme in its curriculum and plans to pitch the mentoring programme to other universities to follow suit and create more opportunities for young adults to find fulfilment, just as Jinesyah and Samantha did.

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About RYTHM Foundation
RYTHM Foundation, the QI Group’s Social Impact Initiative, invests in the communities in which we operate, through strategic partnerships, employee volunteering, and community service. RYTHM, an acronym for ‘Raise Yourself To Help Mankind’ is at the heart of everything we do, representing our fundamental belief in the inherent potential in each one of us, to rise ABOVE & BEYOND our challenges, towards a brighter future. We are on a mission to transform the world, one person at a time, one community at a time, one goal at a time. That is why the RYTHM Foundation strives to reinforce the QI Group’s aspirations and responsibility in playing a pivotal role in achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). Our focus areas are Education for All, Gender Equality and Sustainability Community Development. Visit us at www.rythmfoundation.org

Media Contact:
RYTHM Foundation
Martin Soosay (012-6375029)