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Rachael Shalini Francis

Rachael Francis has a passion for improving the quality of life in marginalised communities through education and works with schools and communities to make it a reality.

In 2007, when volunteering as a literacy programme tutor for teenagers, Rachael encountered illiteracy for the first time. Despite growing up in a lower middle-income household to parents who didn’t get to pursue tertiary education, she could read before attending pre-school. Although they couldn’t afford new textbooks, she remembers always having books to read, purchased second-hand.

Realising she could use her privilege for good, she became a teacher. Rachael taught for 3 years under the Teach For Malaysia Fellowship at a rural secondary school in Jengka, Pahang. There, she tried to start a reading programme because many of her students were unable to read basic English sentences. She realised that marginalised students lacked opportunities to compete for a brighter future, thus, she left school with the mission to reach more students.

In 2019, Rachael joined MYReaders. She played a key role in shaping their approach of building capacity and creating ownership in communities they work with, to collectively work together towards longer term impact. When Covid-19 disrupted their programmes, Rachael led the development and delivery of training for parents, teachers and volunteers to support online learning. For the past 4 years, she has worked alongside the organisation’s co-founders, Charis Ding and Tay Sue Yen to achieve the vision that “One day, every child will be able to read”.

Registered in 2015, MYReaders has supported 136 schools and 47 communities, impacted 34,210 students and 1695 parents, and mobilised 850 teachers and 1800 volunteers. Most recently, MYReaders implemented the Bridging the Online Learning Divide (BOLD) Programme sponsored by Yayasan PETRONAS to deliver literacy remediation to 2000 underprivileged students affected by learning loss across 6 states.

For us at MYReaders, it’s about supporting one child, one family, from one community to attain literacy in order to change their life trajectory and outcome. Being literate unlocks so many opportunities in life and empowers an individual to live out their potential.

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