PERMATA, in collaboration with the Youth Empowerment Centre, UKM, is currently undertaking two community projects focussed on marginalised urban youths coming from low-income settings. The first project, called community@youth, is an ‘in-situ’ project within the community, targeting youths who are ‘at-risk’. It was reported that at least 25% of youths are at-risk unless interventions are provided. The second project is camp@youth. It focuses on youths who are already involved in antisocial behaviours, and its programmes are organised in a camp outside the community. Our aim is to focus and build on the strengths of these young people, to engage and empower young people in their community, to develop and reinforce positive relationships, to recognise and develop talents and skills within young people and to commit to affecting long-term change.
PERKASA Remaja, initiated by Datin Paduka Seri Rosmah Mansor, delved into the various youth issues to formulate an integrated plan to produce a bold, dynamic, competitive and confident young generation. Through several empowerment strategies comprising research, intervention and establishment of a database, the PERKASA Remaja project materialised as an integrated strategy based on the principle of positive youth development to tackle the rampant issues involving at-risk youths, and as a continuation of the PERMATA programme.
Komuniti PERKASA is a programme specifically developed to help youth in marginalised communities so that they can enjoy a meaningful life, and consequently realise their true potential. Social capital development is thus an approach for youth development.
In an effort to develop social capital, youth will be given the opportunity to be involved in the planning and execution of activities by voicing their opinions and making their own decisions regarding these activities. Komuniti PERKASA aims to enhance a 25-item capital asset amongst the youth involved as it is anticipated that youth with these assets will be more likely to realise their ambition and not be susceptible to social ills. The development of these 25 Youth Asset is in terms of support, empowerment, and constructive use of free time, positive values, social skills, and positive identity.
This approach will change the paradigm from merely perceiving youth as problematic to seeing them as members of society with social capital i.e. assets, resources and skills. Active participation and dynamic social relationship can enhance the social capital of youth. Those with high social capital are most likely to succeed in life in the future.
Among the objectives of Komuniti Perkasa are to develop the youth based on their own strength or asset, empower and emphasise their participation and involvement in the community, strengthen the positive relationship between the youth and those around them, and unearth the talents that lie within each and every one of them. In the long term, Komuniti Perkasa will strive to effect a change in the youth.
Several programmes and activities had been underway since 2010 in 2 housing estates in the Lembah Pantai area ie. Pusat Perkasa Remaja PPR (Perkasa Youth Centre) Pantai Ria and PPR Sri Pantai. These programmes aim to develop 25 social capital including a photography club, a cake- decorating club, a music and vocal club, a house-keeping club, and several other activities. The PERKASA Remaja Programmes were carried out at the weekends and received encouraging response from the youth. All in all, about 700 youths had participated in the activities of PERKASA since its establishment in 2010.
The PERMATA youth projects offer an innovative approach to develop the potential of youths living in urban and marginalised communities. For the community@youth programme, we offer an integral package of enterprise training, family, personal and social assets development, and entrepreneurial mentorship targeted at young people. Those who are interested in pursuing entrepreneurial endeavours will be given a micro-credit at the end of the programme to kick-start their business ventures on a small-scale basis. Others who seek employment will be encouraged to pursue further technical and vocational skills through various institutions incorporated as project partners. This is a developmental approach which encompasses capacity building, social capital development, empowerment and micro-crediting, all in one programme.