Brighter future for Yayasan Sime Darby Liberian scholars

Yayasan Sime Darby scholars (left to right) Johnson Emmanuel Sieh, 28, Shari Lawou Raji, 21, and George Emmett Dukuly, 25, recently graduated in the field of Engineering from Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia. Shari and George graduated with honours in Mechanical Engineering while Johnson graduated with honours in Civil and Structural Engineering. 

Bangi, 24 November 2017 – Studying in Malaysia was never a part of their dreams but for three young Liberians - Shari Lawou Raji, 21, George Emmett Dukuly, 25, and Johnson Emmanuel Sieh, 28 - a scholarship from Yayasan Sime Darby (YSD) has forever changed their lives.

All three recently graduated from Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM), with honours in the field of engineering. Shari and George graduated with honours in Mechanical Engineering while Johnson graduated with honours in Civil and Structural Engineering on Tuesday 31 October 2017.

YSD Chairman Tun Musa Hitam said, “It is a proud moment for all of us here at YSD to see the very first batch of Liberian scholars graduate. We saw them begin their journey as furtive youths and to see them grow into confident, successful graduates is indeed heartening. Congratulations to all for the hard work.”

For Shari, being a YSD scholar meant having to grow up fast because the 21 year old arrived in Malaysia when she was only 15 years old.

“Back in Monrovia, I always had my parents to make the decisions for me but here I had to grow up and make decisions on my own while having to maintain my grades to fulfil the requirements of the scholarship,” she said.

Shari became the sole recipient from UKM’s Mechanical Engineering Faculty to receive a special monetary award for her excellent academic results. The RM1,000 cash reward is given to students who obtain a CGPA of 3.33 and above from each faculty.

“Being a YSD scholar, I was exposed to many things; from being introduced to the Malaysian culture, meeting other scholars through the Scholars Development Programme and learning the Malaysian national language,” Shari said.

The language barrier proved to be a challenge not only for Shari, but also for Johnson as well. Now, all three speak Bahasa Malaysia fluently, with the “lah” interspersed in their dialogue to boot.

“Some of my lecturers would sometimes switch to speaking in Bahasa Malaysia and this was difficult for me to grasp during my first and second year. I am thankful though, with my course mates’ help I was able to translate course materials which were in Bahasa Malaysia,” he said.

Shari and Johnson are currently working at Sime Darby Plantation (Liberia) as a Process Engineer and Operations Engineer respectively.

Shari is not only among the youngest to graduate from UKM, but also the first and youngest female Mechanical Engineer in Liberia.

George, who arrived a year later than Shari and Johnson, has completed his studies within three years instead of four and is now pursuing his Masters of Engineering (Mechanical).

Another Liberian scholar, Benedict Dad Knowlden, 22, is currently in his final year studying Bachelor of Engineering (Mechanical) and is expected to graduate next year.

As of October 2017, YSD is offering RM17.7 million in scholarships and bursaries to 354 deserving Malaysian students, out of which 83% is targeted towards 293 underprivileged students.

Another 29 students with outstanding academic achievement will be awarded with excellence scholarships worth RM4.1 million (23% of the scholarship commitment) to pursue pre-university and undergraduate studies at top universities in Malaysia, United Kingdom and China.

YSD is currently supporting the undergraduate studies of 23 scholars from Papua New Guinea, 32 Indonesians and 4 Malaysian scholars in Indonesia, 13 scholars from Liberia as well as 20 Malaysian scholars in China.

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Last Updated:
28 Nov 2017
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