Ain Husniza Saiful Nizam is the first scholarship recipient of AFS Malaysia’s fundraising campaign launched in conjunction with the UN’s International Day of Living in Peace.
Board members of Yayasan AFS Antarabudaya Malaysia (AFS Malaysia) are sponsoring Ain Husniza to take part in its interactive AFS Global You Changemaker program as recognition and appreciation of her courage, bravery and tenacity in encouraging not only her peers but also students around Malaysia to voice out problems they face in school through her #MakeSchoolaSaferPlace initiative, which has since gone viral.
Ain Husniza is a 17-year-old student who recently received a lot of attention for speaking up against a teacher for trivializing rape in a classroom discussion. Her tiktok video went viral, sparking a nationwide debate on sex education, misogyny and sexual violence in Malaysia, subjects which are often considered taboo. She created the hashtag #MakeSchoolaSaferPlace to encourage other teenagers to come forward about problems they face at school, including other issues such as racism.
Ain’s courage in continuing to highlight the issue despite the backlash she received, which includes a rape threat from a schoolmate and lewd remarks about her appearance from some social media users, has emboldened some female school teachers to come forward and speak about the sexual harassment and discrimination they face at work.
“AFS Malaysia promotes Active Global Citizens and Ain Husniza fits the bill,” said Puan Khalilah Dato’ Mohd Talha, chairperson of AFS Malaysia. “We have a unique opportunity and obligation to make global skills more accessible to young people. AFS is fortunate to have a virtual learning program that we can adapt and offer to teens around the globe.”
Global You Changemaker is a 12-week online education program which focuses on Active Global Citizenship and creating social impact. Teens aged 15-17 years old will develop their identities as Active Global Citizens, connect with peers around the world, and learn strategies from experts to begin social impact projects in their communities. Upon successfully completing the online modules, live sessions and project prototype, they will receive an Advanced Certificate on Global Citizenship for Social Impact issued by AFS and the Center for Social Impact Strategy at the University of Pennsylvania.
“AFS Malaysia has suspended our physical exchange programs since March 2020 because of the pandemic. We are however, poised to restart the in-person exchanges and are optimistic that this can happen by the end of the year. In the meantime, we hope that Malaysian parents and students will consider taking the AFS Global You programs which still give the opportunity for students to meet with their peers from other countries,” added Puan Khalilah.