I pursued law because I don’t have a father, so my mother brought me up. It’s quite common in Malaysia not to know your father, so we have a law to help people find their fathers. I want to do that for the children who are on the same page that I was growing up.
When I was 18 I set up my own foundation back home in Malaysia, so my aspiration is to grow my foundation as well as being a Criminal Lawyer for the government. I set up the foundation because I felt discriminated against for not wearing a hijab. People would stare at me when I went to prayers without covering my hair, and I kind of like colouring my hair, so I stood out. I could tell they were thinking “why is that girl praying?”, and I think that that needs to change.
My hijab means a lot to me now and I’m proud of it. I try and fashion it in different ways to make it more interesting. It’s my connection with God, and I’m trying to get as close to God as I can and I think he sees that.
I started wearing one when I was 18 but I didn’t feel like I had any support around me at the time, and I wondered if other girls were out there struggling like I was. So I started a small foundation with a group of girls, which is all about empowering one and other. It just became bigger and bigger, and now it doesn’t just focus on girls – boys love the concept too!
I’m the founder and CEO and I employ about twenty people to work for my foundation – a few of them are some of my best friends which is nice. We do a lot of other charity work now too, like helping the homeless and elderly in Malaysia.
Another thing I do, which takes up a lot of my time, is leading the Enactus society here at Essex. It’s an entrepreneurial society that aims to empower people across the globe. It’s a challenge to run because there’s a team of 200 to manage, but I’m getting there.
Essex is a combination of focusing on studies and having fun. I already felt like I was at home when I came here, and that is my honest answer. I really love Essex – the people are really nice, the International Students Association helps me a lot and I just really love it to be honest.