Ruby Chan and Melissa Lai
With the increasing number of communities affected by socio-economic crises, social innovators and entrepreneurs have been responding and collaborating in different ways to build and innovate more sustainable approaches to drive collective movements in improving the lives of others.
Aligning to the values in galvanising the ecosystem of humanitarian and inclusiveness, Yayasan Gamuda recognises the unsung heroes through the Star Golden Hearts Awards (SGHA) and Gamuda Inspiration Awards (GIA).
“When SGHA first started in 2016, we received 100 nominations. Now, we had over 500 nominations from individuals, NGOs and social enterprises,” commented Yayasan Gamuda Head, Ts. Sharifah Alauyah.
“With the growing number of nominations, it’s a true reflection that SGHA not only supports the recognition of communal responsibilities, but it also allows us to mobilise our collective resources and supporters around the nominees’ projects and strengthen the sustainability of their efforts,” she added.
Each year, 10 outstanding individuals or groups are chosen as the SGHA winners and among them, a special Gamuda Inspiration Award is awarded to one deserving winner with a grant of RM50,000 in recognition of their meaningful and impactful efforts.
Last year, SGHA awarded Sujana Mohd Rejab in recognition of his efforts in enabling disabled children to have equal access to quality life with dignity.
The selection of the GIA winner is guided by these judging pillars – (1) authenticity of the social causes, (2) sustainable use of innovative-driven solutions, (3) societal impacts and lastly, (4) scalability for future collaborations.
Hear from our Gamudians who conducted the internal due diligence for this year’s GIA.
One very significant change that I observed in today’s social innovators is the growing use of technology in its outreach programmes. All SGHA winners serve as a role model to the community when it comes to giving back to society and doing good for the betterment of everyone. I recalled during one of my conversations with the finalists who said – giving back is easy but what makes it hard is to ensure the efforts are sustainable for the continuous betterment of societies. Through SGHA, it’s inspiring to see how Yayasan Gamuda recognises these unsung heroes and collectively, empowers them to build sustainable communities.
Social innovators are now operating at the grassroots level and empowering a lot more communities. It was a life-changing experience for me to hear the stories of one’s challenges and how an individual was able to come out of the rubbles and became an inspirational public figure. Empowerment is an important agenda in building a sustainable community – when we can’t be everywhere to create a difference, we work with those who can help us in creating our success stories.
The pandemic has spurred the efforts in social outreach and programmes to be executed in a more effective and efficient way digitally through the adoption of software for research and data collection efforts. The guiding pillars of GIA winner selection serve as a direction to ensure their efforts are sustainably impactful for the communities they serve.
Social innovators are now concerned with approaches that are sustainable and scalable, with systemic changes that address the root causes. We also see social impact processes that include engagement, empowerment, inclusion and restoration of human dignity. Besides being awed by the efforts of these top 10 winners this year, they have also inspired me to continue to plough back into vulnerable communities.