DOTS is an acronym for Developing Opportunities Through Service. It was founded in 2012 as a Feeder 50 project to help low income women who have fallen through the cracks of social support and found themselves in a web of poverty with all its attendant problems. DOTS is dedicated to meeting the complex needs of these women who are burdened with large families, low self-esteem, and little opportunity for personal growth and accomplishment. The mission of DOTS is to educate and support women who are economically, socially, and academically challenged by seeking to focus on developing their life skills and restoring their self-esteem. The DOTS program provides women with a positive alternative to the negative pressures they face every day in their communities and to help them develop a healthy sense of themselves as individuals who can thrive in society.
For those who were involved in volunteering for this program, the goal is different. The project provided a community service experience that went beyond academics in alignment with Taylor’s core purpose: “To educate the youth of the world to take their productive place as leaders in the global community.” Through an integrated Service Learning approach, the participants learned about the challenges faced by women among the urban poor in Malaysia.
In partnership with four Schools at Taylor’s University, Taylor’s Business School, the School of Medicine, the Law School, and the Centre for Continuing Professional Education, the team collaborated with Jabatan Kebajikan Malaysia, NGO Generasi Gemilang, and the accounting firm of Ernst & Young. Thirty five women from the urban poor community in Lembah Subang were assisted through this program. The women completed a purpose-designed mentorship program to nurture, educate and support them with a focus on developing existing talents and skills. A RM10,000 fund, raised by the accounting firm of Ernst & Young was used as seed money for the project. Personalized calling cards gave professional entrepreneurial identity that boosted self-esteem and confidence. Along the way, besides discovering the value of trust and the importance of taking ownership of their own projects, participants learned to set attainable goals for their own futures.
Written by Stephen Wise
Jamilah, one of the women in the project shared that, “I have learnt a lot today, especially about overcoming obstacles in my life. I have learnt that it is not wrong to do things out of the norm.” Zaitul, another of the ladies said, “I really appreciate the sincere assistance from Taylor’s and I would like to thank them for the opportunity to learn. I found the talks by Dr. Baharom to be very motivating and I appreciate the help to change.” Kartini volunteered that, “Today I am very happy. There was so much that I didn’t know. It’s like I was trapped in a box. From these lessons I have learned to work hard and to be more creative. I have also learned to think more positively about myself.”
This important outreach of the Taylor’s Hostel Management team addressed the issues on dependency and fear through empowerment with the necessary skills to regain a sense of self-worth and prepare for success in themselves, their families, business, dreams and beyond. Those seeking to know more about this important initiative are invited to contact Yuen Mei Lin at MeiLin.Yuen@taylors.edu.my