How did we start?
In August 2010, Angeline Lee, who was a second-year medical student in the UK at the time, came up with the idea of founding Charisma Movement. She had been volunteering in Vietnam & was keen to collaborate with the host organisation. However, as they were based in the US, there were too many logistical difficulties. Hence, she realised that she would have to do this on her own.
Angeline decided to start a group in the UK, which is where she would be studying and then working for the long term. She decided to select Malaysian beneficiaries, as it is her country of origin and connections had already been forged with the volunteering organisations there. The only things left were funding and support, as she was aware that many people would be suspicious of going to a foreign country with a new organisation without legitimate sponsorship.
This was when Angeline came across UKECares’ email looking to fill in vacancies in their committee. (UKECares is the charity branch of the United Kingdom & Eire (Ireland) Council for Malaysian Students.) Angeline was successfully elected to the position, and then proceeded to pitch her idea for Charisma to UKEC. Fortunately, UKEC agreed to fund the project, which she quite fittingly decided to name UKECharisma.
Angeline’s initial vision was for UKECharisma to be a standalone charity organisation that would help realise ideas of projects pitched by volunteers from the general public. (And now the vision has been realised!) Nevertheless, to begin, Angeline came up with an educational project in SK Seri Setia and a health project with the Spastic Children’s Association of Selangor & Federal Territory (SCASFT). Once a committee was elected, the funding, advertising, logistics, recruiting & financial preparations began, all through Skype meetings (just like how it is today).
The 2 projects ran very successfully between June and July 2011. Feedback was excellent from every source; UKECharisma was even approached by a recognised airline company interested to take over the organisation as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiative. After thorough consideration however, Angeline gratefully declined the offer so as to stay true to her original motive for UKECharisma to be an independent organisation.
Other achievements from this first year of execution include an invitation to pitch about UKECharisma at a young entrepreneur's event attended by the Prime Minister, where the organisation was further offered support from the PM’s office. UKECharisma also received media coverage in newspapers, while positive reviews spread by word of mouth of volunteers who had participated. Consequently, UKECharisma saw an increase in applications for Executive Committee positions for the following term!
Through the Years
Health project with SCASFT
The start of Project KL with SK Seri Setia
Conducted motivational camp for students at Jeli upon request from Tok Pa
The start of Project INSPIRE Teringai (now Project Anak Malaysia) by Eunice Tan, a collaboration with Rotary Club Kota Kinabalu