Reach out to us!

ISSUE 15 | Apr 2024

A YTL Scholar Pays It Forward
As A Teacher


YTL Foundation offered me an opportunity to move forward in life and I want to give back to society as the Foundation did for me. It really impacted the way I look at my students. Even if my students aren’t doing too well academically, it doesn’t mean that I should look away. Every student counts.


Growing up, Ratnadewi performed well academically but struggled to secure any scholarships due to external circumstances. 

"It was very disheartening when I received my STPM results because I vividly remember that a classmate of mine, who received similar results was accepted into a local university while I wasn’t."

Amidst the uncertainty of her academic future, a friend of Ratnadewi introduced her to the YTL Foundation scholarship.

"I was unsure whether YTL Foundation would award me the scholarship. I performed well academically but I wasn’t number 1 in my school, district or state so it came as a surprise when the Foundation awarded me a scholarship. It was a life-changing moment for me because I don’t know of any other organisations that awards scholarships to students who aren’t top performers." 

YTL Foundation recognises that academic performance isn’t the only factor for success. It seeks to support students who also demonstrate an earnest desire to learn and embody the core values of the Foundation – honesty, hard work, moral responsibility, togetherness, and vitality. Hence, the Foundation awarded Ratnadewi a scholarship.

When she graduated with a business degree from a reputable university, Ratnadewi entered the recruitment and training sector for a while before realising that she wanted a more meaningful career. Coincidentally, she came across an advertisement for Teach for Malaysia’s Fellowship programme on Facebook. She was moved by the programme’s vision and mission to ensure every child will have the opportunity to realise their potential through education, and felt that that teaching children from lower socioeconomic backgrounds would be a more impactful life purpose. 

"The Teach For Malaysia Fellowship would allow me to develop my leadership skills, specifically in the education sector so I applied for it without expecting much but to my surprise, I was accepted into the Fellowship’s first cohort, in 2012."

"Like the YTL Foundation Scholarship, this Fellowship changed my life."

It was the beginning of the ‘Teacher Ratna’ era.

TEACHING Beyond the classroom

2024 marks 13 years of service as a teacher in the same school Ratnadewi was first posted to, by Teach For Malaysia – SMK Segambut. Located in a densely populated urban poor area, the school faces many academic and social challenges.

"Many of my students are from the B40 (low-income) households. They struggle to pay PIBG (Persatuan Ibu Bapa dan Guru) fees, and some can’t even afford breakfast. When these basic needs are not met, we cannot expect students to perform well in school let alone expect them to want to come to school." - Ratnadewi Lim

As a teacher to a high-needs class with a spectrum of learning limitations, in a high-needs school, Teacher Ratna strives to make education interesting and practical for her students. She understands that real-life challenges, especially financial circumstances, can hinder her students’ ability and capacity to perform academically.

Though their runway to success may not be obvious to them, Teacher Ratna strives to show her students the power of education and how it can influence their lives beyond the four walls of the classroom.

A former student of Teacher Ratna, S is from a low-income household and lacked the financial resources to further his studies. Having gone through a similar situation as S, Teacher Ratna sought out ways to support him as YTL Foundation had once done for her.

"S worked hard when he was in school and had problems paying his fees. I knew I had to help him so that he could in turn help his family. I had some money donated by a friend and decided to help pay part of his tertiary education fees."

Teacher Ratna’s simple act of kindness transformed his life – a true embodiment of leadership, moral responsibility, and togetherness.

When S received the money, he was deeply touched that Teacher Ratna went the extra mile for him and even offered to pay back the money. However, Teacher Ratna declined his offer and simply encouraged him to pay it forward.

"He (S) wanted to return the money to me, but I told him, ‘This is for you. Just remember to help others along the way when you can. Remember to always pay it forward’."

TEACHING is a marathon, not a sprint

Teachers who seemingly teach effortlessly will tell you that it takes more than a simple desire to teach to fulfil the calling to be a teacher. It takes passion and perseverance, too.

Oftentimes, inexperienced passionate teachers assume that they will witness the impact of their teaching within a short span of time. This wrongful assumption can lead to their burnout.

"I’ve burned out many times before and there were times I came close to giving up but every time I think I hit rock bottom, I think about my students. If I don’t pick myself up and support them, who will? When I look at them, I see my reasons to continue the good fight."

With more than 10 years of teaching experience, Ratnadewi now understands that teaching is a lifelong investment.

"Teaching is a marathon, not a sprint. You cannot expect overnight results. You cannot expect your students to go from failing a subject to being an A student, the next day. Such things don’t happen overnight. Sometimes it won’t happen while your student is in school. So, celebrate the small wins and know that even if it is just one student, you are making a difference."

Ratnadewi attributes her perseverance and passion for teaching to her life-changing moment as a student when YTL Foundation offered her a scholarship to further her studies.

"YTL Foundation offered me an opportunity to move forward in life and I want to give back to society as the Foundation did for me. It really impacted the way I look at my students. Even if my students aren’t doing too well academically, it doesn’t mean that I should look away. Every student counts."

Since 1997, YTL Foundation has offered scholarships to deserving students with the robust potential to help build the nation. The Foundation understands that, like teaching, the scholarship programme is a lifelong investment and that its impact can be felt in the lives of its beneficiaries such as Teacher Ratna.
Read More

YTL Foundation Updates

Expanding the Foundation’s Horizons with the Scholarship Programme Outreach

As the Foundation aspires to support more deserving students to fulfil their educational aspirations, the Scholarship Programme team met with Prof. Dr. Azlinda Azman, the Director General of the Ministry of Higher Education (MoHE) in December 2023.

Impressed by the impactful work YTL Foundation does for the nation’s educational landscape, Prof. Dr. Azlinda encouraged the team to engage directly with public and private universities to expand the Scholarship programme’s reach.

With Prof. Dr. Azlinda’s support, the team successfully held scholarship infosessions with several esteemed institutions such as Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM), Universiti Utara Malaysia (UUM), Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM), Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (UTAR), UNITEN, Universiti Teknologi Petronas (UTP), and Universiti Malaya (UM). 

Most of the attendees were foundation and first year undergraduate students seeking financial support for their tertiary education while some were second and third year students who were interested to explore career opportunities with the YTL Group

Read More


Over the past three months, 7 dedicated and passionate volunteers from YTL Construction taught a total of 10 online tutoring sessions weekly for 13 children, from two homes – Agape Shelter in Kluang, Johor & Good Samaritan Home, Klang.

One volunteer shared, “Being part of KelasKita has been incredibly rewarding. Seeing the children’s eagerness to learn and watching them grow has been truly inspiring.”

One child expressed their gratitude for the tutoring sessions, “KelasKita really helped me with my studies. The classes and materials are so helpful, and I’ve gained valuable knowledge. I hope to continue learning and improving with KelasKita.”

Another child shared, “I’ve learned so much in KelasKita. The materials and classes are easy to understand, which has immensely improved my studies. The teachers are amazing, and the classes are fun. I can’t wait for more!”

Evidently, YTL Construction volunteers play an integral role in creating an enriching learning experience for the children through the KelasKita programme.

Read More

Collaborative Efforts to Transform Malaysia’s Teacher Education

On the first weekend of 2024, 66 teachers, from various high-needs formal and informal schools in Malaysia, and the University of Birmingham’s teaching team met for two full days, uninterrupted, to reflect on their teaching practices and exchange ideas on how to improve their pedagogical approach for the upcoming school year.

“These sessions are very helpful as we have a space to learn from our peers who teach different subjects and communities,” said a teacher.

As Professor Kevin Myers, the Head of the Teachers for Educational Equity was in Malaysia, he and Michelle, the Foundation’s Special Projects Programme Manager travelled to Penang to visit five alternative learning centres, in hopes of expanding the programme’s reach. These centres expressed similar needs as those in Klang Valley: a dire need for sustainable professional development and support for their teachers.

Professor Kevin and Michelle also had a fruitful meeting with Professor Kimberley Kong from Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) and Lisa Munroe from Jom Serve as they discussed the challenges faced in working with alternative learning centres and teachers in Penang. The four are exploring opportunities for collaboration as the Foundation and University aim to raise local experts.

In the next few months, YTL Foundation and the University of Birmingham will send out invitations to new alternative learning centres and existing ones to nominate a new cohort of teachers for the PGCEi (Malaysia) as well as begin the selection process for the Master in Education programme.

Read More

Leaps Holiday Programme: Empowering Gender Perspectives

The Leaps Holiday Programme, inspired by Fernando M. Reimers' vision of 'Empowering Students to Improve the World,' welcomed 26 local community children to explore gender dynamics, across two days in February.. Together, they discussed stereotypes, roles, and equality related to gender.

The children successfully identified stereotypes in everyday scenarios and realised their influence, which led to an exploration of global perceptions, gender gap indicators, and Southeast Asia’s female workforce.These sessions empowered the children to change their mindset about the rigid gender roles deeply embedded within Southeast Asia’s culture.

They brainstormed practical strategies to foster inclusivity in schools and wider communities, emphasising the importance of respecting and supporting each other, regardless of gender.

Read More


scholar alumni: 
grannil simon ding

Grannil's journey from a YTL Foundation Scholar to Senior Site Engineer is a testament to the power of dedication and perseverance.

When Grannil first applied for the YTL Foundation Scholarship Programme, the fear of not being able to afford university weighed heavily on him. Securing this scholarship became his beacon of hope for a brighter future, symbolising an invaluable opportunity for growth and a stepping stone towards achieving his aspirations.

To read Grannil’s full story and watch the recent UNITEN Infosession, click here
Read More

Partnership updates


Each year, Acumen opens its doors to a diverse array of changemakers through its transformative initiative, Acumen Angels. This opportunity offers crucial early-stage funding to social impact builders within the Foundry, to fuel their visions to launch and expand ventures aimed at alleviating poverty worldwide.

The awardees of these initiatives are tackling challenges in education, agriculture, workforce development, and healthcare. Their reach extends far beyond borders, touching lives in Nigeria, Colombia, India, and beyond, illustrating the global impact of their endeavours.

In February, we proudly recognised Clara Wan, a 2023 Malaysia Acumen Fellow, as one of the 23 exceptional individuals selected to join the ranks of Acumen Angels.. Clara's journey with Graze Market exemplifies the spirit of social entrepreneurship, driven by a strong urge to combat food waste and enhance food accessibility and quality.

Through the ingenious repurposing of imperfect produce and the creation of delectable offerings such as jams, sauces, and dehydrated fruits, Graze Market has not only captured the hearts of over 10,000 loyal customers but has also established a surplus cafe, redirecting waste to composting partners and fostering a culture of sustainability. Graze Market stands as a testament to Clara's unwavering dedication to her cause.
Read More

Honouring Perak School Leaders at the ASLI Graduation Ceremony

PEMIMPIN GSL celebrated 2023 with a momentous event, the Accelerated School Leaders Initiative (ASLI) Showcase and Graduation Ceremony at MH Hotel Ipoh.

Officiated by Encik Safuan Bin Rabaa’i, Deputy Director of the Learning Sector, JPN Perak, the ceremony marked the culmination of an 18-month professional development journey and celebrated the outstanding dedication and resilience of 60 school leaders from 30 Orang Asli Student Schools (SMOA) in Perak.

The event commenced with a forum discussing the significance of excellent school leadership in Orang Asli schools, followed by a showcase of School Improvement Development Plans (SIDP) from all participating schools.

However, the real highlight of the day was the graduation ceremony. Not only has each leader rightfully earned recognition for the work they do in their respective schools, but for the countless lives impacted by their work beyond the four walls of the schools.

Read More

Sign Up for Our
Touchpoints Newsletter

Find out about how we are impacting our communities. Sign up here for our quarterly newsletter!
YTL Foundation was founded in 1997 on the belief that education is the basis on which every society progresses. By improving education, empowering future generations and building tomorrow’s leaders, YTL Foundation aims to empower individuals and communities to be catalysts of change.

More Information

Helpful Links

Terms & Policies


Get In Touch

YTL Foundation
[199701006074 (421570-A)]
32nd, Menara YTL
205, Jalan Bukit Bintang,
55100 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Follow Us
Copyright © 2022 YTL Foundation [199701006074 (421570-A)]. All rights reserved