KDU Lecturer Bagged The Prestigious Star Golden Hearts Award And Star-Gamuda Inspiration Award For Helping Out Single Mother And Underprivileged Women In KL

Lawrence Anak Abus with his winning trophy, certificate and cash prize for coming up top in the Star-Gamuda Inspiration Award. 
What initially started out as volunteering work tutoring the underprivileged children in Chow Kit under an NGO slowly turned into the idea of setting up a non-profit social enterprise that create job opportunities for single mothers and underprivileged women in KL.
According to Lawrence Anak Abus, he and his friend established the non-profit social enterprises, UmieAktif, after many of the parents of the children they were tutoring came to them seeking financial assistance to pay for their room rental of between RM20 and RM30.
“Due to the close bond we have with the parents, both of us had a discussion and came out with the idea of creating some job opportunities for them so that they could earn a living and need not to worry about not having any place to sleep every day.
“So both of us started searching for the right trade for the group and we ended up by teaching them some hand-sewn skill so that they could produce their own product and sell it off,” said Lawrence, who is one of the lecturer at KDU’s School of Communication and Creative Arts.
He explained that they decided to go with hand-sewn skill because that is the cheapest initiative they can do with a very limited budget considering that as sewing tools like needle, thread and scissors were affordable.
“We started the initiative with our own money by purchasing some sewing starter kits for the mothers and taught them how to sew stuffed toys using recycled materials and fabric as well as how to market and sell their products.
“Now, not only that they are able to make a living and send their children to school, they are also able to provide shelters for their families through their production of plush toys, bags, neck pillows and key chains,” said a proud Lawrence.
Apart from providing job opportunities to the single mothers and underprivileged women in KL, Lawrence mentioned that UmieAktif also create job application for those stateless and refuge.
“We extend our helping hand to the group as well due to the extremely lack of job opportunities for them due to their status and documentation,” he explained while saying that UmieAktif is also considered as a support group for all the participants.
Due to the unwavering support and guidance provided by Lawrence and his partner towards UmieAktif, the non-profit social enterprise was recently named as one of the 10 winners of the Star Golden Hearts Award.
Both Lawrence and his partner also won the Star-Gamuda Inspiration Award, which came with an extra RM50,000.
Commenting on the win, Lawrence said personally he was very shocked with the win and it feels like a dream to him.
“Both of us was not expecting to be among the winner. It was until when we arrived at Menara Star and one of the staff from The Star Media Group congratulate us about our win.
“What more surprising for us is when they also announced us as the recipient for the Star-Gamuda Inspiration Award,” he said.
Asked on the way forward for UmieAktif, Lawrence said he hoped to see the enterprise to be managed by the participants as their own business.
“Besides that, we also want to expand UmieAktif into few others state in Malaysia, such as Sarawak which happen to be my home town,” he said.
The Star Golden Hearts Award is aimed at recognising everyday Malaysians who are dedicated to helping those in need irrespective of race and religion, and is supported by Yayasan Gamuda.