This year’s International Women’s Day, we celebrate six women leaders in the impact space. Women who take on pioneering roles and are driven by a sense of purpose of ensuring no one is left behind coupled with their strong sense of defying injustice.
Alina Amir was working with Accenture Management Consulting as an analyst. But she started rethinking her life’s purpose. She recounted the opportunities she had in life including the chance of pursuing her studies at the University of Illinois.
Driven to make a change she signed up with Teach for Malaysia, a non-governmental organisation with an aim of providing every child with access to proper education. As a fellow under the development programme, she taught history and English at a public school for four years.
Soon after, she recognised the challenges faced by students from impoverished backgrounds was their inability to adapt their learnings to what was happening in their daily life. She was selected to represent Malaysia at the 2014 World Innovation Summit for Education in Doha, Qatar. The experience planted a stronger ambition that more needed to be done to address education inequality in Malaysia. Joining hands with three other alumni of TFM, Arus Academy was established.
Arus Academy aims to embed the culture of lifelong learning among students. At the same time, Arus Academy nurtures students’ interest in STEM-related subjects through providing a curriculum revolving around the Maker education philosophy, computing and STEM to underprivileged students.
In 2020, Arus transitioned to online learning and conducted workshops to assist teachers with remote learning. Arus Academy reached over 35,000 students and teachers through its courses and programmes.
We see more people advocating for, speaking up for better, more meaningful education that goes beyond academic grades. However, on the ground, we are still far from an education system that prioritises growth, personal development and equal opportunities for all. – Alina Amir, co-founder of Arus Academy
Noticeably women are leading the pack when it comes to the partners, education movements, NGO spaces that Arus Academy is working with. Being a woman in the impact space, Alina sees it as an opportunity to address biases and inequalities that have been normalised by cultural norms.
Expectations for girls and boys in education can differ. In the classroom/education programs/opportunities, abilities and opportunities are usually stereotyped based on gender. In every program that we run, we track the gender representative and ensure girls don’t fall behind. – Alina Amir, co-founder of Arus Academy
But it didn’t come easy. Being a passionate woman leader driven to make urgent changes has sometimes been mistaken as emotional outbursts. Despite this, Alina is continuously motivated by the children that Arus Academy is serving. The knowledge that she is creating opportunities and platforms for the children to thrive is her fuel for Alina to keep going.
Explore our sources:
- C.J.Xiung. (2021). 5 Women Shaping The Malaysian Startup Space in 2021. Link
- C.J.Xiung. (2021).Arus Academy Co-Founder Alina Amir On Educating The Next Generation. Gen T. Link
- Prestige. (2021). Prestige Annual List Of Malaysia’s Most Successful Innovative, And Influential Young People: Alina Amir. Link