KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 6 — Maybank Foundation’s R.I.S.E (Reach Independence and Sustainable Entrepreneurship) programme has successfully assisted 6,358 participants from disadvantaged communities in Malaysia, the Philippines, Indonesia and Laos since it began in 2014.

Maybank Foundation chief executive officer Shahril Azuar Jimin said the economic empowerment program is designed to support the communities, particularly persons with disabilities (PWDs) by helping them to grow their income and become financially independent through training, coaching and mentoring.

“About 40 per cent of 6,358 participants that were trained under the programme from 2014-2019 achieved an average monthly income growth of more than 350 per cent,” he told Bernama News Channel in an interview recently.

On Sept 30, Maybank had launched the second phase of the programme, R.I.S.E 2.0, expanding the programme to include Myanmar and Singapore, opening doors to further improve the lives of more than 17,000 communities by 2023.

Shahril Azuar said to ensure that PWDs continue to benefit under R.I.S.E 2.0, Maybank will reach out to the underbanked communities from rural areas to improve their access to banking services.

He said this is part of the bank’s mission to humanise financial services by supporting local business growth as well as strengthen financial inclusion in ASEAN, adding that the bank has allocated RM8.22 million between 2019 and 2020 for phase 1 of R.I.S.E 2.0.

The first phase of the programme assisted 2,551 participants in Malaysia, 1,292 in the Philippines, 2,269 in Indonesia as well as 246 in Laos.

One such participant, Afiq Barni, who designs automotive parts for PWDs, said the programme had opened his eyes to new business opportunities.

Afiq, a Malaysian participant, said he was able to turn his interest and passion in designing automobile parts into a business, boosting his average monthly earnings to about RM20,000 from RM3,000 previously while simultaneously providing jobs for other PWDs.

Jeffrey Ebad from the Philippines said he had initially faced some challenges in his fire extinguisher business, especially in terms of product pricing.

“After attending the programme, I adjusted the price to be lower than my competitors, allowing more people to buy my products,” he said.

He added that when his income increased, he had purchased a chorizo machine to help his fellow R.I.S.E. participants to start their own business.

Chicken noodle seller, Darwin Sidi Aldaud from Indonesia said the training he received enabled him to secure a deal with a big customer to supply his products on a weekly basis.

“Previously, before I joined the R.I.S.E programme, my average monthly income was IDR 1,500,000 (RM441), but after joining the programme and opening an automotive workshop, my income spiked to IDR 7,400,000 (RM2,176) per month,” he said.

Darwin added that he was also able to contribute to his neighbourhood and help his underprivileged neighbours.

— BERNAMA

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