“I am proud of what I am doing,” says Azhar Ramali with an infectiously warm smile. “I am helping my family, and helping myself, so I am happy.”
Ramali is a fisherman’s son from a small village in the Borneo islands, over 1000 km from Malaysia’s capital, Kuala Lumpur. He struggled to find work after completing his degree in Computer Science. But thanks to practical training he received through Malaysia’s e‐Rezeki programme, Azhar is now a freelance programmer and presentation specialist for clients around the world. (He earned MYR 50 000 — roughly USD 11 600 — during his training alone.)
“Still now, I can’t believe it,” Azhar said to ITU News. “This is a beautiful programme, I think.”
Available at training centers across the country, the e‐Rezeki programme aims to help individuals from the bottom 40% of households with monthly incomes below MYR 4000 (roughly USD 950) supplement their income by finding work online. It also helps people with no prior online experience to gain basic digital skills.
It offers three core work streams: digital micro‐ tasking, such as data extraction or photo moderation; digitally enabled tasks, such as delivery services ordered online; and digital work, such as graphic designers or virtual assistants.
Today, there are 23 000 active users, with 150 000 registered on the platform.
Some people use the additional money they earned as a result of the programme to save for holidays, celebrations or pay household bills, but Ramali had a specific aspiration for his earnings.
“I opened a small mini‐market in my village. It has everything you need for fishing and it has food — all owned by my family, […] I am so proud because not only do I give the market, but I provide free Internet to the entire village.” – Azhar Ramali
The government aims to have 200 centers running across the country by the end of 2017.
By Lucy Spencer (@inquisitivelucy), ITU News
© All Photos: Julie Marchand/ITU News
[For more on-the-ground examples of how ICTs are accelerating the SDGs, read the latest edition of ITU News Magazine.]