One Young World Profile profiles

Heidy Quah

INTI International Colleges & University

I am passionate about

One of the things that I am most passionate about is youth empowerment. I love mentoring people and helping them reach their fullest potential. I strongly believe that you’re never too young to make a difference and the purpose of life is to live a life of purpose.

As I reflect on my journey and where I am today, I’m very much aware that who I am today is because of the people who have sowed into my life, cheered me on and believed in my dreams.

Today, I see myself as a young woman who is secure in my worth, identity and purpose. Someone who is strong headed, determined, brave, courageous and driven. But I was not always this girl. Up till the age of 8, my parents thought that I had speech problems. For most of my life, I was always soft spoken, shy and easily influenced. I didn’t speak up, because I felt that my thoughts held no value. I didn’t contribute to discussions, as I grew up understanding that if my thoughts weren’t the same as the majority, I was wrong.

However, along the way, I’ve met a few special people who have sowed into my life. People who journeyed with me through discovering myself ; my identity, my worth and my purpose. People who saw me through my smallest achievements to biggest successes. People who stood by me whenever I felt defeated. People who walked along me whenever I felt that this dream was too heavy for my tiny shoulders. People who fought hard with me for justice. And through this amazing individuals, I found hope again.

Hence this is why I’m extremely passionate about championing others. Just like I’ve had that few individuals who came into my life and journeyed with me to be where I am today, I hope to be able to do the same for others.

Today, besides being a full time student and the Founder & Director of Refuge For The Refugees, one thing I’m actively involved in is travelling for speaking engagements. Through these opportunities, I hope to be able to journey with many more to reach their fullest potential.


In 2012, I founded an organization called Refuge For The Refugees (RFTR). RFTR is a non-profit organization that seeks to raise awareness regarding the status of refugees in Malaysia as well as provide education for refugee children.

Established in 2012, RFTR currently has 35 schools under our umbrella ; 10 across Malaysia and 25 across Myanmar. With these schools, we work towards ensuring that the kids receive a formal, certified and holistic education. On weekdays, our schools run from 8am to 3pm while on weekends, we partner with youth empowerment organizations to run personal development programs and leadership classes with the kids. As an organization, one of the things that we are very passionate about is advocacy and protecting the rights of refugees in Malaysia. We truly believe that the heart of education is the education of heart. Hence, we partner with some of the biggest shopping malls and universities in Malaysia to run awareness campaigns, roadshows and simulation programs. Besides that, on top of our everyday classes with the kids, we also run a micro-financing project that is aimed to empower the kids and their families to find a sustainable way of living. Kids and families are empowered to make hand-crafted items and these items are then sold at our bazaars and awareness campaigns. 80% of the funds raised are then channeled back directly into the families while 20% of the funds will be used to support the operational costs of the schools. We believe that this is the essence of community development work – to see the community playing a role in helping develop their own communities.

Over the past 5 years, we've seen the kids grow in leaps and bounds. Kids who couldn't read, write and speak a word of English can now write essays and are now English teachers at other refugee schools. And this is what we hope to continue doing : empowering refugee communities so that they can empower others.