Meet 23-year-old Heidy Quah, recipient of the prestigious Queen’s Young Leaders Award in 2017.

At 18, she co-founded Refuge for the Refugees (RFTR), an NGO dedicated to providing an opportunity for refugee children to attend school. Believing that education is the way for these children to carve a better future for them and their families, Heidy took it upon herself to raise funds to ensure that Chin Children’s Education Centre, a Myanmarese refugee school where she volunteered to teach English, would never close despite facing funding difficulties.

It was then that Heidy decided to harness the power of social media to raise funds. She posted stories of the young refugees in the hope to raise awareness about their plight.

And that is exactly what happened. The stories resonated with so many and this turned into real, tangible help. In the first three months of her campaign alone, Heidy managed to raise MYR 12,500 (USD 3,197.75), making it possible for the refugee school to stay open.

It did not end there. To date, RTFR has established 10 refugee schools in Malaysia and 25 schools in Myanmar. Heidy continues to facilitate fundraising initiatives, empowering Malaysian youths to get involved – teaching micro-financing skills and entrepreneurship to refugee students so they can help support their families financially while they’re studying. For all her efforts, she was awarded the Young Leaders Award from Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, the sole Malaysian recipient in 2017.

Indeed, no one is too young to make a difference. Be inspired by Heidy and more stories of young women who are changing the world one day at a time.


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