Nurturing Today’s Youth to Build a Better Tomorrow

Nurfarini Daing, CEO- myHarapan

Nurfarini is co-founder and CEO at myHarapan, a Foundation dedicated to helping youth achieve their true potential by empowering them to make positive social impact. myHarapan also known as the Youth Trust Foundation was established in August 2010 and has since then engaged over 25,000 Malaysian youth and funded over 120 various social initiatives.

Nurfarini was the general manager at myHarapan for one and half year before assuming the role of CEO. Nurfarini graduated from the University of Warwick, UK, in Accounting and Finance. She is an alumnus of the INSEAD Social Entrepreneurship Program in 2011 and has a Certificate in Teaching, Stamford College. In Feb 2015, she won the Social Innovation Leadership award by World CSR Congress, India. She is also part of the SEALA network.

Before myHarapan Nurfarini was actively involved in voluntary programs and particularly enjoyed teaching and developing youths in marginalized communities. “Establishing myHarapan therefore was a dream come true as it combined the best of what I knew and could offer to a cause I was extremely passionate about. I have been blessed with many mentors along the way, and have a supportive family that understands my motivations and who are my pillars of strength.  I would have been difficult to sustain “fire in my belly” without them”, she says.

Here are some more insights from the journey of Ms. Nurfarini Daing and myHarapan shared with the team of ABT.

Have you had any role model and any derived Inspiration from them?
I have had the blessings of so many roles models. I feel that there is so much I can learn from anybody – my parents, my peers, and our youth to Prof Muhammad Yunus. They all offer a unique perspective to life’s many challenges. From them, I have seen how small things can affect positive change, that failures make you stronger if you learn from them and that play should not be limited to children’s playground. Prof Muhammad Yunus continues to show me that, despite what insurmountable problems thrown at him, conviction and a deep desire to put poverty in museums, can help you overcome these problems.  My young friends help me stay young and fearless, unafraid of the impossible.

Can you elaborate on your current role at myHarapan and how it has evolved?
I currently play the CEO role at myHarapan,.  Initially, I was its General Manager and helped manage its operations. So when the time came for me to steer the ship, I was actually terrified of assuming the CEO role, even if I knew how to man the ship. I felt that you had to reach a new level of superhero-ness before becoming captain.  It has been a very personal journey for me because I have had to dismiss my own ill-conceived notion of leadership and self-belief.

As the organization grows in developing more youth through social entrepreneurship, our roles have also changed to accommodate to the changing needs and impeding gaps of our beneficiaries.  We’ve had to constantly anticipate how we can best provide value in the most sustainable manner, requiring a higher level of adaptability and agility.  Things are moving faster than they did before so we have had to evolve very quicklyas a team.

How will Corporate, Public & Civil sectors come together to support Social Business?
There are many ways for them to come together and support Social Business but ideally what we would like to see is the creation of a supportive social business ecosystem. The private sector must be able to look at social impact beyond the traditional viewpoint of philanthropy.  SBs can stand to gain from being part of their value chain and can benefit from mentoring and coaching from experts within their organizations.  Companies should also opt to purchase products and services delivered by SBs and other Social Delivery Organizations.

To provide impetus, the right policies and exemptions should also be put in place by the public sectors so the SBs can produce good quality products that can scale and therefore achieve more positive impact. Grass root communities should also be empowered to developing solutions hand in hand with social delivery organizations; facilitated by an enabling public sector.The Academia should also facilitate the enculturation of Social Businesses across the many stakeholders. All stakeholders need to work as a collective, and understand how we can all best put our foot forward for a shared mission. We all have a distinct part to play for systemic change to happen.

How do you stay clear ahead with surrounding judgmental noises?
I have come to a stage where I am comfortable in my own skin and no longer will the “noise” affect me as much as they used to.  At the end of the day, it is clear that while I have no control over what people have to say, I definitely have control over how I am going to react to it. That’s not to say it doesn’t affect me at all, but my skin has thickened over the years and so long as I am clear as to what it is I want to achieve, my conscience is clear. I am after all, only answerable to God.

How can we get more Youth representatives?

  • Inspiring them, letting them understand their true potential and sustaining their desire to do good over an extended timeframe. They need to know that we have their backs!
  • Develop their entrepreneurial mindset! Everyone can think like an entrepreneur.
  • By being more engaging and understanding of their needs and aspirations.
  • With instant gratification as the new norm, outcomes and impact can only be achieved with patience and dedication. Youths need to understand that all good things take courage, competence and commitment.

What would you like to achieve in coming years?
Establish our Social Business Academy around the country and invest in more good, impactful businesses not just locally but in the region.

Any other additional information you would like to share?
As one of the founding advocates and supporter of Social Business in Malaysia, we will be presenting our journey to a global audience in Paris this November during the Global Social Business Summit 2017.  We are also happy to bring with us, several Social Business competition winners from our own and partner owned programs so that more of our young Malaysian youths can be provided with the knowledge and networks required to create impact at a global level.