Changemakers of Penang: Impact Where It MattersSeptember 2023 FEATURE
WIKI IMPACT 100 features everyday Malaysians involved in impactful work that positively changes society and the environment—people Wiki Impact terms a “changemaker”. Changemakers use their ideas, talents, experiences, networks, resources and platforms to solve problems and innovate for a better future for all. Here are three Penang changemakers we are proud of.
Melissa Tanya Gomes, CEO & Co-Founder of Edvolution Enterprise
Being posted to a high-needs national school for her stint in Teach For Malaysia led Melissa to form Edvolution in 2016 to cultivate competent education leaders. The organisation provides end-toend support for capacity building for educators and curriculum development for teachers and students. Its flagship programme, Teacher Empowerment for School Transformation (TEST), aimed at raising the standards of teaching and learning at 14 low-performing schools in Penang’s north-east district, managed to effect a 6% drop in teacher absenteeism in 2018 and increase the engagement of more than half of the students in the 14 schools. It was shortlisted as one of the top 150 innovations in education by HundrEd Global and acknowledged by the Ministry of Education as a new model for fighting education inequity in the country.
Melissa is a proud recipient of the 2020 Prestige 40 Under 40 Young Women Leaders Award and currently sits on a global advisory council to review teacher leadership across the globe.
Loh Cheng Kooi, Executive Director of Women's Centre For Change (WCC) Penang
Since its establishment in 1985, WCC has been a women’s and child’s rights organisation aimed at ending violence against women and children, and promoting gender equality. It also provides legal support in domestic violence and abuse cases. Prior to the pandemic, the organisation supported up to 70 court cases and counselled over 1,200 women in a year. Cheng Kooi joined WCC as Executive Director in July 1997, a position she still holds today, and oversaw expansion at WCC in counselling services, community outreach and advocacy.
In order to further prevent sexual violence among children and youth, WCC runs outreach activities and publishes guided materials for girls and boys, and is also part of the Joint Action for Gender Equality, a coalition of 14 women’s rights organisations in Malaysia lobbying for legal reforms and better policies for women and children.
Felicia Yoon, Co-Founder & Financial Controller of Arus Academy
Arus Academy was launched in 2014, inspired by Felicia’s experience as a Teach For Malaysia fellow, alongside educators who seek for all students to get an equal and meaningful shot at education. The centre provides hands-on learning in subjects such as design thinking, coding, robotics, programming, financial literacy, data analytics and 3D modelling.
Previously, Felicia was on the core team to develop Global Citizenship Education (GCED) learning modules with UNICEF through project-based learning aligned with the national KSSM (High School Standard Curriculum) syllabus. Aside from leading Arus Academy, she now heads the school at Buku Jalanan Chow Kit and remains passionate about bringing quality education to the marginalised children of Chow Kit.
Note: Please visit https://www.wikiimpact.com/impact100/ for the full list of changemakers and to nominate someone you think is deserving of the spotlight.