KOTA KINABALU: Nurul Nazieha Jasnie of Kolej Vokasional Keningau (KVK) is the only Malaysian among 50 top students shortlisted for the Global Student Prize (GSP) organised by Varkey Foundation in the United Kingdom.
In a statement, KVK said they were informed by the foundation that Nurul, 19, is the only Malaysian in the running for the award this year, which carries a US$100,000 (RM455,000) prize for the champion.
Nurul, from Kampung Taun Gusi in Kota Belud, is pursuing her diploma in bakery and pastry at KVK.
To vie for the award, Nurul had to send in an application with evidence of her work and attend an interview via Zoom with overseas panellists, it said.
“Nurul has used the skills learnt in bakery to implement a community project targeted at mothers from the low-income group.
“Nurul has also started her own biscuit business under the brand name ‘Tia Cookie’. She used the profits from the business to participate in an innovation competition in Bali, Indonesia, in 2022,” the statement said.
KVK director Christine Stanislaus Kinsik said she was confident Nurul’s achievements can help improve the marketability of vocational college graduates in the country.
“It is hoped that Nurul’s achievements can be an inspiration to all students and youths in Sabah and other states to continue enhancing the country’s name on the world stage,” she said.
Varkey Foundation, in a separate statement, said Nurul, with the help of some teachers, had also mobilised her peers to start a baking class for single mothers and women from low-income backgrounds.
It said they had trained over 120 single and low-income mothers from the 40% of the population that earns less than the average income so that they can use these new skills to make a living.
According to the statement, if Nurul wins, she plans to use the funds to expand and transform her business into a social enterprise by combining it with community workshops and public outreach to train more women to kickstart their own businesses.
“She would also produce more recipe books based on the diverse ethnic cultures of Sabah so that the region can preserve its cultural heritage through its traditional foods.
“Some funds would go towards getting new recipes tested in established labs to obtain the necessary certificates and accreditations to market her products more widely,” the foundation said.
Nurul also plans to fund her studies for a bachelor’s degree in tourism, which would perfectly complement her vision of using food to boost the local economy and make it self-sufficient.