Mohammad Rizan Hasan brings training opportunities to disadvantaged young Malaysians.
Mohammad Rizan Hasan’s drive to make a difference comes from his own experience. Born into an impoverished family, he grew up in a rural kampung without access to clean water or electricity.
With few opportunities to pursue an education, he was arrested at the age of 12 before being sentenced to three years in juvenile detention for robbing a bank at the age of 15.
At the Henry Gurney School for Rehabilitation and Reformation, Rizan had access to electricity and the security of three meals a day for the first time.
There, he was also exposed to something he had not experienced before: hope for the future, and determination to make a difference despite his circumstances.
A kindly warden at the school counselled the young man to be patient; alone and friendless, the road ahead would be difficult.
“The warden told me that Allah was the only one who could help me,” Rizan recalls.
Paying back by paying forward
He was right. Upon his release, Rizan was rejected for 39 jobs before finally securing a role at a high-profile Japanese company. The factory manager took a chance on the young man, who thrived in his new position and was eventually transferred to Osaka, Japan, to work at the company headquarters.
Yet Rizan wanted to do more. Determined to repay the support of his Japanese mentor, he asked what he could do to make up for his generosity. Shortly before he died, the man told Rizan that the best way to say thank you was to give back to his society, and to make a difference for those less fortunate than himself.
This is exactly what Rizan set out to do.
Fuelled by his deeply-held belief that everyone deserves a second chance at life, no matter their circumstances, Rizan moved back to Malaysia and established the TEKAT Automotive Training Centre.
The organisation was designed to give at-risk youths the chance to forge a new life for themselves through education, employment, and self-belief.
Matching people and industrial needs
Financed with his own savings, some money raised on social media, and later, a small grant from the Malaysian Youth Council, Rizan approached automotive manufacturing companies around Malaysia to discover where their skill shortages lay. Partnering with these organisations, he started training youths with the skills they would need to fill those roles, before they went on to obtain on-the-job experience as interns and apprentices. Once fully-trained, students could join the companies as full-time employees.
But even this wasn’t enough. Rizan was determined to reach a wider range of young Malaysians and put them on the road to a better future. He established 1B1K to “close the gap” for students who left school without the opportunity (financial or otherwise) to pursue higher education or training. In particular, he wanted to reach out to people just like himself, who felt that the world had given up on them.
A place of new beginnings
1B1K now offers a range of mostly free vocational courses in partnership with 35 strategic partners across Malaysia, including draughtsmanship, hospitality, beauty therapy, welding and furniture production. Prospective students are only required to pass the “3M” (read, write and count) minimum requirement to qualify for a programme. In additional, 1B1K offers courses to inculcate “soft skills”, including volunteerism, leadership, careers and sports, to develop students’ own sense of purpose.
The organisation is now completely self-funded, and 1B1K’s strategic partners contribute financially to ensure it remains sustainable. Most importantly, since its inception, more than 5,000 students have passed through 1B1K’s doors with success and contributed to the organisation’s unprecedented 100% student employment rate. 1B1K also has a thriving alumni community, made up of empowered former students who want to give back to the programme that has given them so much.
And as for Rizan? Like any true leader, he’s already set his sights on his next goal, reaching out to young people struggling with drug addiction. His purpose remains unchanged and inspiring: to give young Malaysians a second chance, just as he was once given the opportunity to turn his life around. It is an inclusive, forward-thinking vision that will have a long-lasting impact.
In 2016, he was the winner of the Iclif Leadership Energy Awards (ILEA). ILEA is set to recognise individuals who have demonstrated authentic leadership energy in the quest to create a better future for community or organisations.
With his leadership, Rizan is changing today’s Malaysian society for the better, but also discovering, inspiring, and empowering our young leaders of tomorrow. For Rizan, there is no time to waste. “The future is now!” he says.