nurturing growth mindset in youths

Championing Change Together: A Social Entrepreneur Couple’s Journey

Social entrepreneurship is the practice of starting and running businesses with the primary goal of addressing social issues and making a positive impact on society. These ventures aim to generate both social and financial returns, focusing on creating solutions for problems such as poverty, education, health care, and environmental sustainability.

Social entrepreneurs use innovative approaches to tackle these challenges, often blending traditional business practices with a strong commitment to social change.

In Malaysia, parents can leverage the country’s unique challenges and opportunities to instill social entrepreneurship values in their children by being role models.  We can help our children develop the mindset and skills needed to become future social entrepreneurs, capable of making a positive impact on the world.

It is rare to find a married couple diving whole-heartedly into social entrepreneurship. One such couple is Nurlina Hussin and her husband, Rashid Mat, who together in 2016, founded inspiraComm, an entity focusing on social entrepreneurship to trigger the growth mindset among young Malaysians. Nurlina and Rashid have three children ages 6, 16 and 22 years. I caught them in action during the recent MAPS UNSTOPPABLE Convention and wanted to find out more about their initiatives and their book, “Be a Changemaker with Growth Mindset”.

Abbreviations:
JS = Jamilah Samian
NH_RM = Nurlina Hussin & Rashid Mat

JS: Can you give us a brief overview of “Be A Change Maker”? What inspired you to write it?

NH_RM: “Be a Changemaker with Growth Mindset” shares our social entrepreneurship journey, which encapsulates our experiences, expertise and outcomes in providing much-needed guidance in education, economic empowerment and character building to trigger the growth mindset among our young Malaysians.

We are inspired to share our story in this book as we see it as our mission to build better communities by unleashing potential, and achieving more meaning and purpose in the lives, careers and businesses of young Malaysians. Plus, we realized that there isn’t any book out there written by local Malaysian social entrepreneurs.

JS: What are the key messages you hope readers, especially parents, will take away from your book?

NH_RM: After working in the corporate world with a combined working experience of over 50 years and managing our social enterprise for over 8 years now, we strongly believe that education on growth mindset is clearly missing in our education system to develop young Malaysians.

Hence, developing the growth mindset is very crucial for young Malaysians not only in schools but in universities and workplaces so that they understand how to overcome self-doubts to gain confidence, to appreciate progress and allow themselves to make room for improvements in both personal and professional development.

JS: How can the principles in your book help parents instill a sense of social responsibility and leadership in their children?

NH_RM: Honestly, anyone can be a change maker, including a young person to help create impact for his or her family and community. All of us want our world to be a better place for all and it is up to us to take small steps to make it happen. We want to inspire action through this book.

As parents of 3 children, we constantly teach our children to learn to serve others, help and respect others, no matter the age or background. For our school and community programmes, we bring along our children so that they can see for themselves how others live to better appreciate what they have at home.

This book shares that in order to empower communities to achieve sustainability, we must first cultivate growth and a sustainability mindset instead of expecting immediate results as behavioural change takes time and it is a journey.

 

Nurlina Hussin and Rashid Mat with their recently published
book, “Be A Change Maker”.

JS: What practical steps can parents take to encourage their children to be proactive in making positive changes in their communities?

NH_RM: First: Communicate regularly. We strongly believe that parents should create an open communication channel to enable them to engage regularly with their children. This way, parents will get to know their children better in how they think and what they want to do.

Second: Set a purpose. Parents can encourage their children to have a life purpose. We share the story of our football goalkeeper son in our book. How he is so passionate in playing football from school to international tournaments. The sport also develops discipline, resilience, persistence, patience, teamwork and leadership skills.

Third: Growth mindset. Give your children space to grow and improve. Do not be too strict and harsh on them as it is their journey to make mistakes and to improve to be better and stronger people. Today, we see many young people in the workplace who are not mentally and emotionally strong. Parents are being too protective of their children.

JS: How important is it for parents to model the behavior they want to see in their children, especially in terms of being change makers?

NH_RM: We like the quote “Monkey see, monkey do”. Throughout our experience, we have seen how children copy the behaviour of their parents, good and bad. It is very important for parents to showcase good behaviour, especially at home or even in a football game.

Therefore, the awareness of self-control is crucial to manage one’s emotions. We have seen first-hand how young football players displayed bad behaviour after losing a game.

How we do something is how we do everything. And one’s true colours will be revealed in a pressured situation. Being a change maker is not confined only to serving others in community service. A young football player can be a change maker to help his team members shine on the football field.

JS: How can parents balance encouraging their children to be socially active with ensuring they still enjoy their childhood?

NH_RM: Sadly, in Malaysia, for children to be socially active is not very popular. Some parents feel that children should focus their time more on their studies rather than being involved in social work. Even in national schools, there are limited opportunities for our students. As someone who has experienced working in international schools, I see more opportunities for social work in international schools as they embrace giving in a bigger way.

As adults, we need to cultivate giving habits amongst our younger generation. Serving others selflessly will definitely improve our mental health and well-being. Having said that, I strongly believe that our youths today are more inclined to be more socially active.

JS: Are there specific activities or projects from your book that parents can do with their children to foster creativity and problem-solving skills?

NH_RM: Parents can guide their children to use the GROWTH model in the book to develop a simple social project which includes measuring impact to give more meaning to the project.

Children must develop problem solving skills. Parents can help their children in this by simply asking the 5W and 1H questions – who, what, where, when, why and how. We believe parents should provoke their children to ask questions and be curious in life.

JS: What are some common challenges parents might face when trying to raise socially conscious children, and how can they overcome them?

NH_RM: Parents are more focused on working to put food on the table as we have to agree that developing and delivering social projects can be very time consuming. Hence, children should be given the right exposure through experiential learning. Let them learn by experiencing things. For example, if children are learning about recycling, take them to our beaches and rivers, to see for themselves how much rubbish we Malaysians throw in public and what are the steps that we should take in our own way to help reduce waste. They need to appreciate the situation to understand better.

For example, our social enterprise focuses on helping young people to break free from poverty. We take our children to join our school and community programmes at PPR neighbourhoods to show them the living conditions to create awareness and self-appreciation.

JS: How can families get involved in their local communities to start making a difference together?

NH_RM: Families can surely dedicate their time and efforts to be involved in a social project on a long-term basis to create more impact. For example, families can work on a donation drive and ensure it is long-term and sustainable. One-off social projects are easy to do but long-term projects are more challenging.

This can surely strengthen the bond between families and minimize children’s on-screen time on phones or computers. Children can be given the role to lead a project like what our eldest daughter did in Form 5 where she led a project to collect contributions such as cash and clothes for the poor. Then, we took her to deliver the cash and clothes to the identified families. This is considered as a one-off project but it was a good start for her to experience it and be accountable for it.

JS: Can you share a story from your book about a young person who became a change maker that particularly stands out to you?

NH_RM: In our book, we clearly state that we are not the heroes. But we develop heroes. For example, we helped a young Orang Asli teenager to achieve her life purpose. She realized that she can have a better future to help her family by continuing her studies until she finished her SPM exam.

JS: What role do you believe schools and community organizations should play in supporting parents and children in these efforts?

NH_RM: One thing which many would ask before embarking on a social project is about funds. Who will be funding the project and what is the level of involvement from schools and communities in managing the project. We strongly believe that everyone can play their own part in a small or big way and collaborate to allow children to dedicate their time and efforts being involved in a social project.

JS: Have you seen examples in your own life or family where the principles from “Be A Change Maker” have been applied successfully?

NH_RM: We both were from the corporate world and we have had this desire to contribute to communities but we were not sure what to do. After we volunteered in an Orang Asli primary school to teach literacy skills, we realized that they needed more help – a holistic programme to develop soft skills. After doing research and using the concept of growth mindset on our children, we developed our growth mindset transformation programme for schools and youths in underserved communities.

JS: Are you working on any new projects or books that parents might be interested in?

NH_RM: We are considering to focus on the growth mindset for our next book.

This year, we focus our school programmes on upper secondary students to minimize dropouts and to ensure they complete their SPM exams.

JS: What final piece of advice would you give to parents who want to raise the next generation of change makers?

NH_RM: Just continue to support and guide your children while they create their own path. Do not create the path for them. Let them lead their own way with proper support and guidance.

Social entrepreneurship holds immense potential for driving positive change in Malaysia. By fostering a robust ecosystem for social enterprises, Malaysia can address pressing issues such as poverty, environmental sustainability, and educational disparities, creating a more equitable and resilient society. Parents play a crucial role in nurturing the next generation of social entrepreneurs by modeling social responsibility, encouraging empathy and critical thinking, and providing opportunities for social involvement.

Malaysia’s rich cultural diversity provides a fertile ground for social enterprises to flourish. We need to leverage these strengths and invest in social entrepreneurship so that Malaysia can harness the creativity and passion of its people to develop sustainable solutions to its most pressing problems. This not only enhances the quality of life for its citizens but also positions Malaysia as a leader in social innovation on the global stage. The collective efforts of individuals, businesses, and government in championing social entrepreneurship will pave the way for transformative social change, ensuring that Malaysia’s growth benefits all segments of society.

 

 

 

About Jamilah Samian

Jamilah has written 543 articles.

Jamilah Samian is an author and speaker.

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