Eunice Jane Andrews, 22, is proof that youths can become a catalyst for change. During her student days at Universiti Utara Malaysia, Eunice - an alumnus of the Perbadanan Insurans Deposit Malaysia (PIDM) Undergraduate Scholarship Programme – was actively involved in humanitarian work.
“My course in international relations exposed me to global issues like terrorism, poverty and sustainability. It sparked my interest in the work that international organisations like the United Nations do to build a better world for people,” she said.
With that in mind, she rallied a few friends to join her in restarting a then-defunct UNESCO-UUM Club.
Eunice shared some of the projects she helped spearhead. ‘Food for Friends’ was aimed at helping the homeless in the northern region facing poverty and hunger issues.
On campus, the club, through the ‘Ramadan Beramai-ramai’ project rallied student volunteers to source for unsold food from restaurants and food vendors to feed students with financial difficulties. Through word of mouth, the club found fellow students who were forced to 'ikat perut' to save money to return home for the Hari Raya Aidilfitri celebrations.
“It was satisfying to see the students we helped putting on weight after some weeks, despite being in the fasting month,” said Eunice.
The club also organised outreach programmes in three rural locations to address education inequality among students with special needs, such as attention deficiency, as well as students with speech and language proficiency challenges.
These projects provided Eunice with real-world applications of what she learned in her course and which later turned into opportunities that led to a permanent career in the area of mobility and immigration.
Playing the ambassador role
In addition to humanitarian work, Eunice would occasionally find herself explaining the concept of deposit insurance whenever asked about her scholarship.
“I’ll usually do this over coffee because it does take some explaining!” said Eunice.
“I didn’t know about deposit insurance until I applied for PIDM’s scholarship programme. I read the PIDM brochures during the interview and remember thinking what a smart concept it is. I never thought about depositors needing insurance protection against bank runs.”
The only child from Georgetown, Penang, also shared her perspective on deposit insurance:
“A deposit insurance system is something well-developed countries have and more developing countries are starting to implement it. It shows that the country is going forward.”
A scholarship like no other
Eunice's advice for students who are interested in applying for the PIDM Undergraduate Scholarship Programme is a simple one:
"Don't treat it like any other scholarship programme. Be prepared to learn from as many people as possible and you will not regret it," said Eunice, who was drawn to the scholarship because it offered mentorships.
"I liked that I could learn from someone who knows their way around professionally and in their personal life, too. I've learnt so much from my mentor, Kevin (Kevin Chew is the Deputy General Manager of the Policy and International Division at PIDM). Every conversation we've had has been insightful and inspiring - they gave me a direction for what I want to achieve for myself," she said.
Eunice also credited PIDM for providing her with the opportunity to intern at EY Malaysia. She said she became interested to work for the consulting firm after attending an industrial visit a few years ago.
“I remember Beatrice (Beatrice Low is a Senior Manager in charge of PIDM’s Scholarship Programme) telling me that I must go even if it means taking time off from my studies! I’m glad I did because if it wasn’t for that trip, I wouldn’t be working here today.”
Eunice is currently working with EY Malaysia’s People Advisory Services - Global Mobility Immigration team.
Interested to read more PIDM Scholars’ Spotlight stories? Click here for more doses of inspiration.