GO UP is a program that finds brilliant teens who need support for their projects that benefit the communities around them. Founded by Wendy and Eric Schmidt, former CEO of Google, RISE picks 100 global winners each year and offers them a lifetime of benefits while working to serve others.
Under this initiative of Schmidt Futures in collaboration with Rhodes Trust, the program creates teens between the ages of 15 and 17 by offering them scholarships, tutoring, access to professional development opportunities and funding, while working to solve the most pressing problems of the humanity.
This year, we have our own Malaysian who has been selected as one of the overall winners of RISE: 17-year-old Belle See from Johor.
From an initiative initiated during the MCO
Despite her interest in technology, Belle has always perceived coding as a job designed for guys who liked games.
Then came the confines of COVID-19, where he found free time in his hands and began learning to program with the help of online communities made up of young people who shared an interest.
But Belle was not learning to code for the simple fact of it. Its goal was to create a platform that would connect SEA female and non-binary students with the right resources so that they could pursue their interests in technology. The platform would empower these beneficiaries by organizing workshops, inviting women speakers to high school hackathons, and offering tutorials.
So was the nonprofit community project Command technique arrived in good port.
“I didn’t know what I was doing,” Belle admitted to Vulcan Post about her biggest challenge during this process. “I knew where I wanted to be, but I wasn’t sure how to get there, so I talked to students (most of them in the US) who also ran organizations to ask for advice, they searched Google. [resources], and contacted adults on Linkedin for advice. “
He also explained that the platform has rotated several times after the failure of its initial goals, before finally landing on its mentoring program, Command Connect.
Connecting through social media, the team of 14 volunteers has incorporated members from more than 15 countries, including Malaysia, India, Thailand, Indonesia, Russia and more. “Right now we are trying to address the issue of‘ equity of access ’by designing a program aimed at B40 students and we will implement it next year (as COVID-19 improves),” Belle imagined.
So far, the nonprofit has directly affected more than 400 people, Belle shared.
Since all the programs were conducted online, there is virtually no cost and Belle has been managing her non-profit organization without any funding. However, the team has been raising funds through corporate sponsorships for a program next year that financially encourages students to learn to program.
A scope for more impact
After being chosen as a finalist, Belle was put into groups of 4 on finalists day to present her project, undergo debates and problem-solving exercises, before a 1-1 final interview.
“Throughout the finalists’ day, all I could think about was how everyone was so great and had a lot of imposter syndrome, ”he explained. “I have no idea why I was selected, but I think RISE wants to invest in young people who want to work and serve others.”
He then added that while Command Tech is not yet on a life-changing scale, its goal is to bring it there. As a global winner, Belle will have access to a funding fund of at least US $ 5 million a year to which she can apply for funds.
These funds will then be used to experiment with innovative ideas to address important issues in local communities or around the world.
An immediate initiative he would like to take is to make technology education more accessible. This is after realizing that even though the Internet is full of resources surrounding topics like coding, low-income young people don’t know it or can’t access it.
Therefore, Command Tech will host a program that will encourage young people to learn to program. The initiative will select 100 Malaysians aged 14 to 18 and provide them with a mentor, personalized workshops and other aids to build a technical project over 4 months.
RM 500 will be given to students, with the potential for scholarships for upper secondary education. To make it accessible to B40 teens, the team will travel to different schools in impoverished areas to begin enrollment and offer to sponsor a computer to anyone accepted into the program who does not have one.
Right now, the world is at a turning point where problems like climate change, overpopulation, inequality and more seem to be endless. Having a generation of innovators who have a technical inclination is important if we are ever going to find a solution. And the first step to achieving this is through education and offering young people the opportunity to be exposed to the world of technology and creation.
Belle See, global winner of RISE 2021.
An opportunity to develop professionally
For Belle, winning this contest means she will be able to go to college without burdening her parents whose businesses were severely affected by COVID-19. This is because RISE Global Winners are also promised a 4-year post-secondary scholarship to any accredited university, with tuition fees and living expenses as needed.
In addition to the scholarship, the overall winners will be combined with mentors to offer them personal and professional guidance, for which Belle expressed her enthusiasm. Belle knows first-hand the instrumental growth that comes with having a great mentor like Ashley Suelyn, chief of staff of GIVE A PUNCH, on the advice of his NPO.
As for the access that global winners will have to network events, Belle hopes to build relationships with other winners to learn about their own passions and hopefully collaborate on projects.
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As a Malaysian, we are proud to have someone like Belle who represents the potential of our country on the global stage. Also, her status as a young person trying to make changes for other young people is an inspiration everywhere, and we look forward to seeing more global Malaysian RISE winners in the future.
- You can learn more about Command Tech here i GO UP here.
- You can read more stories about Malaysian entrepreneurs here.
Featured Image Credit: Belle See, RISE Global Winner 2021