inspiraComm — a social changemaker that inspires the young; also helps school dropouts find better meaning in life

There’s a saying “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. But two social entrepreneurs, the husband-and-wife team of Rashid Mat and Nurlina Hussin, found that there was a lot of fixing to do in society some years back.

And hence their purpose in life is to help young people to lead lives with greater meaning, impact and purpose because they found that many were not!

They also want to help young people to possess the magical growth mindset to achieve success in their business, career and life goals.

Hence inspiraComm Sdn Bhd, a social enterprise was formed in December 2016, to realise the founders’ dreams and aspirations.

Says Nurlina: “We strive to build a community of changemakers amongst Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Sustainability teams to help uplift the lives of school dropouts and reduce youth unemployment via education and training programmes. These programmes also assist in reducing poor mental health and suicidal tendencies, and help break their inherited poverty nationwide.”

She adds that this is in line with various Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) like in SDG #1 – No poverty, SDG #3 – Good health and well-being, SDG#4 – Quality Education, SDG#5 – gender equality, SDG #8 – decent work and economic growth and SDG#17 –partnerships for the goals.

Rashid explains that the company’s mission is to conduct education programmes in a fun and engaging way in schools and higher learning institutions to foster the growth mindset from an early age.

“This is to help them to develop self-appreciation, self-confidence, self-control, self-discipline, self-motivation and self-worth to become growth mindset communicators, independent lifelong learners and confident leaders,” he adds.

In this respect, inspiraComm provides consultancy, education and training services so that their social enterprise can bridge or link the corporate and social entrepreneurship worlds together to exponentially accelerate the level of positive social impact among youths.

Today, both Nurlina and Rashid are authors, coaches, trainers, speakers and social entrepreneurs all rolled into one with a dedicated mission – to make a positive change in society.

Rashid reveals that whilst working with young people, both co-founders discovered that many secondary school students face various life challenges such as bullying, difficulty in attending school due to financial limitations and long distances, family issues, lack of interest in schooling, poor mental health, suicidal tendencies and pressure to get married early.

Faced with these issues, both Nurlina and Rashid felt they could provide additional help to schools to attain better academic results by motivating students to discover themselves and life’s purpose.

The idea is to motivate them to complete at least their SPM examinations and provide them with the big picture about the world out there beyond SPM: either to further their studies, what can they be employed as with their basic qualifications or are they well-placed to start a business at that stage in life.

Rashid explains that the co-founders would conduct training programmes for the youths to plan and measure their potential impact on society.

Rashid and Nurlina also help CSR practitioners transition from short-term ad-hoc programmes like giving goods or possessions to long term sustainable programmes.

In the past eight years, inspiraComm has delivered many projects such as Cerita Sambil Mendidik (CerDik), Projek Anjakan Minda, Lifelong Learning IT Skills, MerCu, UMBI and ProDigY (Programme for Developing Youths) in collaboration with various strategic partners such as the Malaysian Rubber Council, Mah Sing Foundation, CIMB Foundation, SME Corporation, MBI Selangor, Kumpulan Perangsang Selangor, Majlis Bandaraya Petaling Jaya, Prolintas Group and others.

They have also provided training to lecturers and students at institutions like Multimedia University, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, SEGi University, UCSI University and Politeknik Ungku Omar, Ipoh.

inspiraComm, has also ventured abroad by showcasing its capabilities at the 2022 Social Enterprise Conference in Bali, Indonesia. Since then, it has partnered with a social enterprise in Bali, namely Mana Earthly Paradise, on various sustainability projects.

The social enterprise, which recently celebrated its eighth year of incorporation, has achieved many milestones including getting basic recognition as a Social Enterprise by the Ministry of Entrepreneurship and Development Cooperatives (MEDAC), appreciation from SME Corporation and the Malaysian National Sustainability Recognition Award by Green Project Management Global in 2019.

As an alumni of the Social Enterprise Training Hub (SETH) under the Transformational Business Network Asia (TBN Asia) and Asian Venture Philanthropy Network (AVPN), inspiraComm has impacted more than 2,500 young people, both from rural and urban underserved communities in Malaysia since 2018.

With a combined experience of more than 50 years of corporate experience, Nurlina and Rashid have never wavered in their burning desire to help the under-served.

In 2017, they volunteered to teach literacy skills in English and Bahasa Malaysia to slow learners at the primary school level at Sekolah Kebangsaan Bukit Lanjan, Selangor. They have also stepped up their roles to become “football parents” when they discovered that their 16 year-old son, Ashraf, was passionate about football.

After doing research on nurturing the growth mindset, they helped Ashraf towards becoming mentally strong until he was chosen to be trained as a goalkeeper under the National Football Development Programme (NFDP).

As parents of three children aged six, 16 and 22, they have used the growth mindset principle to bring them up when they realised that growth mindset was not taught in national schools. They decided to develop these positive programmes and more schools have welcomed their assistance. 

This positive outcome stems from the schools’ realisation that a growth mindset can contribute to personal development, resilience, and a positive approach to learning and challenges, which can have a significant impact on various aspects of life.

For instance, individuals with a growth mindset see challenges as opportunities for growth rather than as threats. They are more likely to take on new challenges, persevere in the face of difficulties, and view setbacks as learning experiences.

Such individuals also like to continue learning. And people with this mindset are more likely to seek out new knowledge, skills, and experiences as they understand that their abilities can be developed through dedication and effort.

Growth mindset individuals also tend to be more resilient when facing setbacks. Instead of being discouraged by failure, they use it as a stepping stone for improvement and continue to pursue their goals. They are also more adaptable to change for they see change as an opportunity for growth, thus are amenable to new strategies and new situations to evolve their perspectives in life.

(Rashid Mat and Nurlina Hussin are reachable at 0193274983 and 0122056585)