EWRF Today

The Educational, Welfare and Research Foundation (EWRF) is a Malaysian NPO & NGO, founded in 1979, whose mission is to empower marginalised communities in Malaysia by creating platforms for empowerment through education, psycho-social counseling and welfare for B40* communities so the equity difference between themselves and others can be reduced.

EWRF is made up of volunteers, advocates, educators, mobilisers, community champions, and professionals from diverse backgrounds, and its work focuses on the following objectives:

  • Community development by empowering academically under performing and socially challenged students;
  • Increasing and sharing innovative approaches for information exchange through experimentation, research and technology;
  • Developing innovative platforms related to educational, social, counseling and welfare;

*(An indicator indicating the bottom 40% of earners in Malaysia based on total household income)

EWRF’s core programmes are English for Juniors (E4J), Civil Society Intervention (CSI), Skill Training Initiative (STI), Counseling, Research and Medical Aid and Welfare.

English for Juniors (E4J) started all the way back in 2009 to address the issue of poor literacy in the English language among the National Type Tamil school students. This is a 20-week programme conducted in schools for underachieving primary children where they are exposed to the English Language through fun learning with the aim of becoming familiar of using up to 200 new English words by the end of its 20 weeks duration. Other components of this programme are the Educational Tour, D.A.R.E. Competition and Achiever’s Day.

The Civil Society Intervention (CSI) programme since its initiation in 2009 has been continuously developed to assist youths facing social and financial challenges in their daily lives. This 20-week programme focuses on behaviour transformation through weekly lessons that are designed to instill positive values in youths coming from challenging homes and backgrounds. Counseling, sporting activities and career guidance play a major role in the effectiveness of this programme where youths are guided towards a more promising future through the learning and development of new coping skills and knowledge.

Skill Training Initiative (STI) is a programme made available purely for those who are more skill inclined than academically inclined. EWRF believes that no one is born equal yet everyone deserves an equal chance at success hence those who have a passion in a skill or technology should have access to educational pathways that could even promise a higher success than traditional academic pathways. EWRF is also a champion and strong supporter of available opportunities provided by Government funded institutions of learning that many from marginalised communities are not aware of.

Career Coaching & Career Guidance (C3G) is a component within the CSI Programme that provides guidance to higher secondary children on what may be a more suitable career for each individual based on their personality using the John Holland’s personality test. The C3G programme is usually conducted in secondary schools where the CSI programme is being conducted and is offered to all students of the school. This is also where students who are not academically inclined can discover alternative pathways such as Skill Training through the STI programme.

Counseling has become a major component of EWRF since the last 5 years, initially starting off as one of the major supporting activities that make up the Civil Society Intervention programme, EWRF came to realise that counseling was crucial to transforming traditional belief and thinking systems that remained as major hurdles to an individual’s progress towards better social mobility. Today, EWRF offers various opportunities for anyone to reach out for assistance such as FREE Walk-In Counseling offered at it’s HQ in Taman Tun Dr. Ismail, Kuala Lumpur and a Tele-Counseling Hotline.

Research  has always been a cornerstone of EWRF, where studies have been done on core topics that defined the marginalised Indian Communities in Malaysia, the challenges facing these communities and the solutions proposed.

Historical Background of the Foundation

The Educational, Welfare and Research Foundation (EWRF) was established by a group of Malaysian Indian professionals from the field of education, civil service and commerce, back in 1978 with the primary objective of uplifting the Malaysian Indian community through education. University seats were not filled up as many were still struggling to access quality education in the plantations.

While the P.P. Narayanan Hostel was set up to help Malaysian Indian students obtain satisfactory results and fill up available seats in public universities, scholarships and grants were made available for deserving students through various empowerment programmes which were carried out in plantations to create awareness among Indians on the importance of education and health.

It can be said that since its early days, starting with the establishment of the PPN hostel, EWRF’s achievements could be broadly categorised into three stages or phases of development based on the needs of the Malaysian Indian Community. The three phases are as follows:

PHASE 1

EWRF was officially registered as an NGO on 1st Feb 1979. Up to 1995, the general focus was to assist young Malaysian Indian individuals to have a better probability to attend public universities. Hostels were established in Kluang and Muar to allow bright students from plantations and rural areas to attend good schools and be given adequate guidance by professionals.

PHASE 2

EWRF launched a new project starting 1996 which continued until 2005, called project Assist a Bright Child (ABC) as an encouragement for students from secondary schools who have achieved good results in public examinations to be rewarded with scholarships. This initiative was later handed over to the Malaysian Community and Education Foundation (MCEF) and was subsequently renamed as Project ILHAM.

PHASE 3

In 2006, Mr. S. Pasupathi took over EWRF’s journey, with delinquents being the main issue to be tackled. The Millennial Phase focused on “At-Risk” students who were not only from economically challenged backgrounds but who were underachieving students as well. The 2014 Household Income Survey by the Department of Statistics showed that a large percentage of the Malaysian Indian community had to struggle with lower income. The study also revealed that 139,030 families comprising 695,030 Indians were still being affected by poverty and poverty related challenges.

This constituted 33% of the entire Malaysian Indian population. This also meant that 33% of the Indian community in Malaysia were categorised under the B40 income category that were earning less than RM 2,537 per month. Under living conditions in 2006, it was not enough to sustain a family with such a low income. Such living conditions would further deprive them of the basic necessities in life and this would eventually lead them to a life of hardship.