GDI - SOLS 247
"Teaching is the most meritorious of all deeds."
Madenjit has always been determined to help others. As a school drop-out who only realised the importance of education later in life, he decided to learn as much as possible and become a teacher for the poor. A self-starter and autodidact, he created a low-priced monthly motivational magazine that followed the approach of a correspondence course, giving children in rural and poor Malaysian communities access to life skills and knowledge.
Aiming to simplify every subject, he then designed his own system for teaching almost any student of any age how to read, write, speak and understand basic English in 3 to 6 months. This program is being taught to 350 public school teachers in Cambodia and also in public schools in Timor Leste by Madenjit’s students. In addition he has developed programs to teach basic math, computer and life skills.
In 2000 Madenjit and his two sons set up SOLS 24/7 (meaning Science of Life Studies 24/7), an NGO that offers a free comprehensive two-year training and boarding program providing life skills for disadvantaged youths. Boys have to bring their sister or another female student as a condition of enrolment to ensure gender balance. Every student plays a part in building and maintaining the school, cooking, teaching classes and carrying out community service. The program teaches English, computer skills, accountancy and leadership amongst other subjects. Students become global citizens by being taught about all the major religions and mingling with people from other cultures. Graduates are encouraged to teach in a SOLS school in another country while studying more advanced lessons in management there.
The organisation is now running 185 schools in 5 countries, some in remote villages. Their 15,000 pupils are taught by previous students who thereby become role models and encourage others to gain an education. More than 100,000 youths have graduated from SOLS 24/7 schools. Madenjit and his NGO have won several awards and have been invited to expand to others countries. Madenjit was honoured by Berjaya Corporation Founder, Tan Sri Dato’ Sri Vincent Tan, and the Better Malaysia Foundation as the Personality of The Year 2012. He continues to teach on a daily basis at his current base in Timor Leste.
If awarded the Prize, Madenjit would use the funds to establish further schools and expand his organisation into more countries. He would also buy more advanced teaching aids, especially computing equipment, and provide scholarships to youths who are currently unable join because they cannot afford his schools’ food fees. In addition he would like to engage experts to confirm the effectiveness of his programs.