When I joined EA, I had one purpose - to learn all I can, and ultimately to bring it back to Malaysia.
There were a few things that I loved about the program:-
1) There were activities planned for six months
2) The youths were buddied with an adult volunteer each
3) The community service 'theme' of the overseas Expedition
But one thing I had not counted on was... COST!
Today the budget stands at an alarming SGD$58,000 or MYR140,000. There are 14 youths benefitting from the program. It actually costs about MYR10,000 per youth.
I had to make an executive decision, since this is MY baby, as far as Cybercare is concerned, and I have.
We won't go through with this program in Malaysia, not in the same way.
It's not that I don't believe we can raise MYR10,000 per youth if necessary.
It's because I believe in a country with so many needs around me, I can't justify spending MYR10,000 on a single youth unless I strongly believe it will propel them to such a success that it is worth taking the money from somewhere else that can benefit more youths.
I can't say that at the moment. It's a great program, and I wish we were a rich country well-able to afford it, and that I could say, as the Singaporeans clearly can, "Nobody in our country is of greater need of this money at the moment."
In my country, I think I want to take the youths to East Malaysia. I want to take them to our own people who are struggling and poor and let them help our own people. I believe that the strong growth that comes from doing community service - seeing that "I can make a difference!" rather than "poor me" - can be drawn from Malaysia.
The one thing my youths will lose out on is the overseas experience, and I'm very sorry for that. But we will change the country, and someday, we can bring the full program to Malaysia. It won't be soon, but it will be someday.