LIPIS, 28 JULAI 2013: The East Coast Economic Region Development Council (ECERDC) today organised the “Jalinan Kasih” programme involving the participants of its empower ECER Lipis initiative, which is aimed at promoting the spirit of togetherness, giving and volunteering in the holy month of Ramadhan.

At today’s event, 20 empower ECER Lipis participants under the Skills and Entrepreneurship Training module worked hand in hand to prepare bubur lambuk at Benta’s Ramadhan Bazaar site. The traditional savoury porridge was then distributed to 200 local residents, as well as to mosques, surau and the poor living in Lipis.

The Guest-of-Honour for this event was Benta state assemblyman, YB Dato’ Haji IR Mohd Soffi Bin Tan Sri Abdul Razak.

“The bubur lambuk distribution is part of ECERDC’s “Jalinan Kasih” programme which aims to reach out to the local community in the East Coast Economic Region (ECER), especially the poor and needy,” said ECERDC Chief Executive Officer, Dato’ Jebasingam Issace John.

“This year marks the second consecutive year that ECERDC is organising the programme. Apart from promoting good relationship between ECERDC and the local residents, we are also encouraging empower ECER participants to give back to the community by using the skills they have acquired through the Skills and Entrepreneurship Training,” he added.

The volunteer participants consist of local housewives who are mostly enrolled in the cooking courses offered under empower ECER Lipis, and are currently involved in small businesses.

Encouraged by the success of last year’s Jalinan Kasih programme, ECERDC decided to continue organising the programme in 2013. To date, the programme has been organised in Jelai and Raub, with Lipis as the third venue.

Implemented by ECERDC in Lipis since 2011, empower ECER is a twin-pronged human capital development initiative launched by ECERDC to reduce economic disparities between rural and urban communities. It focuses on Skills and Entrepreneurship Training for adults and Academic Training for examination-year students in ECER.

The Skills and Entrepreneurship Training offers courses that reflect the needs of the job market as well as that of the community. Training programmes run for a period of 10 months and they include courses such as baking, sewing & handicraft making, bridal make-up and dressing, Masakan 1Malaysia, wiring & plumbing, reception services & public relations, reflexology & traditional massage, and hairdressing. Single mothers and youths were among those who successfully completed the Skills and Entrepreneurship Training programme in 2012.

The Academic Training targets academically weak students from disadvantaged backgrounds, enhancing their skill sets and improving their academic results so that they are not left out of the Region’s socio-economic transformation.

empower ECER programme was first introduced in Bentong, Pahang in 2010 and was subsequently expanded to Lipis and Temerloh in the following year. In 2012, three more locations were added, namely, Raub, Cameron Highlands and Kuala Pahang. Up to 2013, empower ECER has benefitted 8,657 Academic Training participants and 5,225 Skills and Entrepreneurship participants in Pahang.

empower ECER is also being implemented in Jeli and Bachok in Kelantan, as well as Kemaman and Dungun in Terengganu.

To date, a total of 22,262 participants, comprising 13,537 students and 8,725 adults had benefitted from empower ECER. Students to date have recorded a 100% passes rate, with several scoring distinctions. For adults, it is estimated that up to 80% of participants will gain employment after completing their courses or have sufficient knowledge and practical experience to start their own business, and the ability to generate an additional income of between RM500 and RM1,500 per month, or even more.