Background of TECH Outreach Malaysia

TECH was conceptualised in October 2003, when the Founder, Dr. Selvamalar Ayadurai, was engaged as an Entrepreneurship Consultant with UNDP in Sri Lanka. She wrote an award winning paper on the women in Sri Lanka, which appeared in the Journal of Development Entrepreneurship in 2005, and presented the paper in Washington which won her the award. The paper was on transforming housewives in North East Sri Lanka into successful women entrepreneurs in a conflict environment, and that entrepreneurship can be fuelled by adversity, and this can lead to economic wealth creation.

In February 2004, Dr. Selvamalar Ayadurai, registered TECH with the Registrar of Companies as a social organisation, and continued her efforts in Sri Lanka. She adopted the Grameen Model by Professor Muhammad Yunus of Bangladesh, and applied the Micro Credit Financing Scheme with women headed households in Sri Lanka (women who had lost their husbands, sons and brothers at war, hence had to take care of themselves and their families). The women were given small loans from a grant secured from UNDP for Income Generation Projects, and they were taught how to initiate small business ventures. They became independent and were empowered to take care of themselves and their families. The business ventures were developed to become sustainable business ventures that showed growth and profitability, and most important, sustainability in an income for the woman and her family.

Dr. Selvamalar Ayadurai transformed the lives of more than 300 women over a span of three yeas from 2003 to 2005. She established a system where the loans were repaid on a weekly basis and “bicycle runners” were sent to collect the loans. She trained the women on entrepreneurship skills using the Manual on Gender + Entrepreneurship by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) as she believed all women, irrespective of their poverty level, had the right to education and be educated on entrepreneurship management in a rural environment.

In 2008, Dr. Selvamalar Ayadurai, together with a group of four friends, conceptualised the idea of replicating the Grameen Model in Malaysia. In May 2009, TECH was registered with the Registrar of Societies (ROS) as a Non Profit, Non Governmental Organisation, with the aim of transforming disadvantaged communities in Malaysia and internationally, through micro credit financing and entrepreneurship development.

In October 2009, Dr. Selvamalar Ayadurai, was approached by the UNHCR in Malaysia to help transform the livelihoods of five UNHCR Refugee Communities in Malaysia, namely, the Myanmar Muslims, Rohingyas, the Somalis, Afghans and Sri Lankan Tamils. TECH was given a grant for four years from 2009 to 2012 to transform 300 women refugees in Selangor & W.P. It was during this time that TECH established their own Savings and Credit Model called TOM (TECH Outreach Model), which gave out micro loans to women belonging to the poorest of the poor (POP), that is, below the poverty line, with 0% interest and no collateral. TOM was a replication of the Grameen Model, but modified to exclude collateral, interest and savings.

In January 2010, TECH reached out to Malaysian Single Mothers, Abused Women and Abandoned Women through funds raised from family and friends of the members of TECH Outreach Malaysia. TECH initiated a Development Programme for the Women called “WIN@ College” (Women In Need at College) where Malaysian women receiving funds from TECH had to go through a 12 module entrepreneurship development programme based on the ILO “Gender + Entrepreneurship Together” GET Ahead for Women in Enterprise Development Programme. This manual was subsequently translated into Bahasa Malaysia. By University Sultan Zainal Abidin in Terengganu and is offered to TECH’s potential women entrepreneurs by University Lecturers at Sunway University, Subang Jaya, UNISZA Terengganu, and Brickfields Asia College, Petaling Jaya. TECH believes, not just in handing out loans, but to develop and groom their women on entrepreneurship skills.

In July 2010, TECH went on a field trip to Sri Lanka, under the sponsorship of theNorwegian Foreign Ministry, to identify women communities in North East Sri Lanka that required livelihood assistance. TECH identified many women communities who were all women headed household communities, and three Local Partner NGOs in Sri Lanka that TECH could collaborate with in their outreach in Sri Lanka. That started TECH’s second initiative in Sri Lanka after the end of the war in 2009. The TECH Project Sri Lanka Team has been initiating projects in North East Sri Lanka from 2010 to the present.

In 2012, TECH initiated the “Sponsor A Child” Programme in Sri Lanka where 200 orphans affected by war were given SLR 1000.00 (RM 40.00) per month for educational support. This was done across 20 war torn villages in North East Sri Lanka. These children are aged between five to 20, and include the levels of Nursery, Primary, Secondary, High School and University.

In May 2013, TECH reached out to disadvantaged women in Kathmandu and Sindhuli in
Nepal, who were all widows who had lost their husbands in the Maoist War of 2004. TECH
replicated the TOM in Nepal through a Local Partner Organisation, based in Kathmandu.

In 2014, TECH was awarded a grant from Khazanah Nasional Malaysia to help transform 150 disadvantaged women in Selangor and Wilayah Persekutuan K.L. The grant amounted to RM 420 000.00 including operating expenses for one year for TECH. Is is an
ongoing programme with Khazanah for 2015.

In August 2014, TECH initiated the LOTUS Empowerment Programme for Teenage Girls in Sri Lanka which looked at developing girls affected by war from a psycho social perspective.

In August 2014, TECH adopted an orphanage in Nepal called the RUWON STAR Children’s Home with 19 children. TECH secured funding for these children for a period of one year from family and friends of the members of TECH. Air Asia X sponsors two flight tickets per month for TECH personnel to visit the Home and manage and monitor the Home and the Children.

In November 2014, TECH pursued an Application for both Foundation status and Tax Exemption from the ROS, Security Commission of Malaysia, and Income Tax to make TECH a desirable entity to fund from funders, both locally and internationally. The application is in progress, with March 31st, 2015 being the dateline for both.

Number of Women in Need transformed from 2004 to 2014:
1. UNHCR Refugees in Malaysia (five communities): 300
2. Malaysian Single Mothers and Abandoned Women: 350
3. Women Headed Households in Sri Lanka: 700
4. Women Headed Households in Nepal: 100
5. Children affected by war in Sri Lanka: 250
6. Orphaned Children and Children in Poverty in Nepal: 180

Total Number of Women whose lives have been transformed by TOM: 1,450
Total Number of Children who have been reached out to by TECH: 430
Total Funding received from 2004 to 2014: RM 4 Million

Funders from 2004 to 2014:
UNHCR Malaysia
UNDP Sri Lanka
Khazanah Nasional Malaysia
Development Fund Norway
PERMA Malaysia
Robert Bosch (M) Sdn Bhd, Penang
MEPS Malaysia
UEM Malaysia

Individual Donors
Anonymous Donors
Family and Friends of TECH Members
Network of TECH Funders
Members of TECH
Awards received by TECH Outreach Malaysia:
Prime Minister’s Award to Dr. Selvamalar Ayadurai, Founder of TECH Outreach Malaysia for “Finalist Woman Social Entrepreneur Activist” in September 2010 TAFT Award by the American Embassy in Malaysia in recognition of TECH’s initiatives to help empower disadvantaged women in Malaysia, in 2010. Europa Sustainability Award 2012 in the category of “Women Entrepreneurship Programme” in conjunction with EUMCCI Social Responsibility Week 2012

From 2004 to 2009: no hired personnel and no wages or allowances were paid to any
TECH Member. TECH was solely led and managed by the Founder,Dr. Selvamalar Ayadurai.
From 2010 to 2012: One hired personnel paid from UNHCR’s operating expenses.
From 2013 to present: Two hired part time staff, paid from operating expenses of fundsreceived.

Operating Expenses of TECH:
24% for Malaysia
28% for Sri Lanka and Nepal.