Four women have been selected for the Kotex® #SHECAN FUND campaign out of some 240 submissions nationwide.
Kotex kicked the campaign off in October last year with an annual budget of RM100,000.
The campaign is aimed at making strides in areas where women are currently underrepresented, from arts to education, to entrepreneurship and beyond.
The first four recipients of Kotex® #SHECAN FUND will be awarded between RM7,000 and RM25,000.
Each woman comes from a different background with equally varied pursuits.
Their submissions detail their ambition to engage the community and inspire other young women to overcome society’s expectations of them. They are artist, Nawwar Shukriah Ali; aspiring dancer, Aina Amirah; leprosy researcher, Atiqah Abd Rahim; and social volunteer, Nur Adzratull Iffah.
Nawwar Shurkriah Ali, 34, has always turned to her art which encompasses drawings, installations and photography as a form of expression. It has helped her articulate her childhood struggles to show that there is hope and that good always prevails.
She appreciates the significance of being a female artist and is grateful to Kotex® for funding her first solo art exhibition which will provide a visual insight to mental health issues.
“A person living with mental health problems often has difficulty finding hope and find something meaningful to focus on, but I believe art is a positive tool to try to bridge that gap,” she explained.
For 23-year-old Aina Amirah, her faith makes her passion for contemporary dance that much stronger. As a recipient of the fund, this hijab-wearing young woman is now on her way to honing her skills to become a professional contemporary dancer.
“We should not be discriminated against based on our faith or forms of dressing. I am most happy when I’m dancing and I want to share the beauty of contemporary dance and inspire young people who may not have the confidence or the opportunities to follow their dreams and show them that the world truly is their stage.”
Atiqah Abd Rahim 25, said her eyes were opened to the struggles and stigma associated with Hansen’s disease, that continue to devastate those who are and have been afflicted with the disease.
Following a research piece on Hansen’s disease (more commonly known as leprosy) in Sarawak, specifically in a resettlement village of Kampung Sinar Baru at Kota Padawan, Atiqah realized that age-old prejudices have led to people afflicted with the disease facing significant hardship even though Hansen’s disease is treatable.
“Thanks to Kotex®, I am able to use the funds to publish a book on my findings to highlight the struggles of former sufferers to show there is life after being cured and they too can have joy in their hearts,” she said.
Armed with a burning desire to help others in need, Nur Adzratull Iffah is willing to be put out of her way to do so. “If you have enough compassion to see where and when help is needed, you are already way ahead of many people,” said the 20-year-old social volunteer.
Adzratull will use the funds from Kotex® to become a teaching assistant at a special needs school in Jakarta via an AIESEC Malaysia volunteer programme.
“While women in Malaysia are generally not as disadvantaged as their counterparts in other parts of the world, there are still many who have been unable to take the next step towards achieving their dreams.
“The Kotex #SHECAN FUND was set up to do just that, to support and motivate these women, to ensure they have the same opportunities,” said Frenissa Lagman, Marketing Manager for Kimberly-Clark.
Lagman added, “We are confident that women are built for incredible things and these four individuals are just the start.
Women who have faced challenges in realising their ambitions can continue to submit their entries for the Kotex ® #SHECAN FUND. For more details, log on to: SheCanFund.com.