MANY of the Telenor Youth Forum (TYF) delegates we spoke to said the highlight of their time in Norway was, naturally, getting to attend the Nobel Peace Prize events, but the forum itself was pretty awesome.

It was a gathering of 25 remarkable young people from around the world, and they were to put their heads together to find solutions to the problem posed by this year’s theme – “Knowledge for all”.

The list of speakers was pretty impressive too. Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales’ session, for example, was packed with Telenor employees eager to hear from Wales, but the lucky TYF delegates were the only ones who could ask questions. Even us journalists didn’t get a word in… #jello

Heidy and Adley with Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales, one of the speakers at TYF.

Heidy and Adley with Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales, one of the speakers at TYF.

The selection of two Malaysian delegates – Heidy Quah and Adly Chan – was done by Digi, which is part of the Telenor Group.

Quah’s winning idea was a micro-financing project to help refugees in Malaysia. Her organisation, Refuge For The Refugees, provides refugee schools with Internet access so they can learn about digital entrepreneurship.

They then help sell the refugees’ products, returning 80% of the profits to the community and 20% to the schools.

“I was a bit intimidated by the other delegates at first, because some of them have achieved so much!” she said.

Quah was particularly impressed by Haroon Yasin, 23, who started a school in a slum in Pakistan.

“He had never thought about starting a school there, because his parents always told him to avoid the slums. He went in on his way back from college one day, and after seeing all that was going on, he rented a small room, painted it up and said it was open for small kids to hang out.

“But parents started thanking him for opening a school, and that’s how it became one!” said Quah.

The delegates were each given two minutes to pitch their ideas for providing “knowledge for all” to a room full of Telenor top brass, including CEO Sigve Brekke, and leading start-up business owners from the region.

Heidy making her "elevator pitch" to Telenor Group CEO Sigve Brekke.

Heidy making her “elevator pitch” to a room full of Telenor top brass, including Telenor Group CEO Sigve Brekke.

Chan’s idea was to create an online buddy system between urban and rural students to bridge the education gap in Malaysia. The platform will allow urban students to act as tutors.

“I’ve had this idea for a while, but I wasn’t sure how to implement it,” said Chan.

“A previous TYF delegate told me how the forum helped her implement her idea, so I decided to give it a go, and it was really helpful!”

Chan is now determined to make her idea a reality, especially after seeing what the speakers and other delegates have achieved.

“I’m now looking for someone to help build a website, and I hope to bring this concept to other countries as well.”

Digi head of communications and sustainability Quah Yean Nie said TYF allows Digi to engage with Malaysian youth and empower them to make an impact.

“We want to encourage young people to raise their voice for issues that matter, such as access to education,” said Yean Nie.

“The young Internet generation is uniquely positioned to advise us on how to build a better digital future for all. That’s why we want to engage them to explore how Digi, Telenor and mobile technology can be part of driving inclusive change and improving access to knowledge.”

To find out more about the Telenor Youth Forum, click here.


Ian is the editor of R.AGE. He hates writing about himself.

Tell us what you think!

More from R.AGE

Championing children’s education

Education director-general Datuk Dr Habibah Abdul Rahim speaks on the importance of empathy-based education, the challenges of adapting education policies in light of the Covid-19 situation, and her “dream” education system.

Read more Like this post21

I lost my mother to the Japanese war

 Whenever Allied planes bombed Sandakan town as part of its campaign to liberate Borneo, Daniel Chin Tung Foh’s grandfather would rush the whole family into a bomb shelter behind their house.  During its heyday, the British North Borneo Company had developed Sandakan into a major commercial and trading hub for timber, as well as […]

Read more Like this post17

A witness to the Double Tenth revolt

 Chua Hock Yong was born in Singapore, but his grandfather moved the family to British North Borneo (now Sabah) to establish their business in 1939 when he was a year old.  The Japanese invaded Borneo shortly after, but the family continued living in their shophouse in Gaya Street, Jesselton, now known as Kota Kinabalu.  […]

Read more Like this post21

An encounter with victims of the Sandakan Death Marches

 When the Second World War came to Borneo, Pelabiu Akai’s mother moved the family back to their village in Nalapak, Ranau.  Although the Japanese were known to be ruthless and brutal conquerors, they left the villagers to their own devices and Pelabiu had a largely uneventful life – until she came across gaunt-looking Allied […]

Read more Like this post19

Sarawak’s only living child prisoner of war

 Jeli Abdullah’s mother died from labour complications after giving birth to him and his twin brother. To his Bisaya tribe, this was seen as a bad omen, and his father did not know what to do with the twins.  Fortunately, an Australian missionary couple decided to adopt the newborns. But misfortunate fell upon the […]

Read more Like this post16

Lest we forget

AFIO Rudi, 21, had never thought much about his grandfather Jeli Abdullah’s life story until an Australian TV programme interviewed the 79-year-old about being Sarawak’s last surviving World War II child prisoner of war (POW). The engineering student then realised that despite living in Sarawak all his life, he also didn’t know very much of […]

Read more Like this post16

A native uprising against Japanese forces

 Basar Paru, 95, was only a teenager when his village in the central highlands of Borneo was invaded by the Japanese Imperial army.  “The Japanese told us not to help the British. They said Asians should help each other because we have the same skin, same hair,” Basar recalled. “But we, the Lun Bawang […]

Read more Like this post8

Left behind in wartime chaos

 Kadazan native Anthony Labangka was 10 years old when the Japanese Imperial Army invaded Borneo during World War II.  Sitting in the verandah of a modern kampung house on a hot afternoon in Kampung Penampang Proper, where he has lived his whole life, Anthony recalls the hardships of the Japanese Occupation.  The villagers were […]

Read more Like this post8
Kajai R.AGE Wan Ifra Journalism Documentaries Digital Media Awards

R.AGE Audience Survey 2019 + Office Tour contest

Want to be in the running to meet R.AGE producers and journalists? Take part in our R.AGE Audience Survey 2019 by Feb 17, 2019!

Read more Like this post6
Go top