Poverty must not be a bar to learning and learning must offer an escape from poverty– Lyndon B. Johnson
Poverty is often been a big hindrance for a person to continue growing in life. Shattering this statement, a brilliant student, Shashivarmaan Thevaraj proved that poverty is never a barrier to excelling in life and education.
“I come from a low-income family background. My mother worked in a factory and my father was a security guard. Not leaving out, my grandmother and aunt who raised me since I was young. It’s their sacrifices and the upbringing that inspired me to work hard in school for a better future for my family”, said Shashivarmaan.
According to reports by The Star, Shashivarmaan is the first alumnus from Universiti Utara Malaysia (UUM) to receive the prestigious Tunku Gold Medal Award, which carries a cash prize of RM10,000 and a Community Programme Grant of RM10,000.
The young graduate with Bachelor’s in international affairs received the award on December 6 at a hotel in Kuala Lumpur.
The Tunku Medal is awarded to bachelor’s degree recipients from Malaysian public universities who best exemplify the values of Malaysia’s late Father of Independence, Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj, in areas such as scholarship, leadership, and character. Shashivarmaan received the award from Tunku’s granddaughter Datin Seri Sharifah Menyalara Hussein, who sits on the foundation’s board of trustees, and as the organisation’s acting chief executive Ida Thien.
In a press release stated by The Star, the young scholar shared the hardships he struggled with in life to excel in academics and co-curricular activities.
“Throughout my time at university, I worked hard to achieve excellent exam results, and my efforts paid off because I received the Dean’s Award every semester. I was equally active in co-curricular activities such as the Tunku Abdul Rahman Foundation leadership programme’, said Shashivarmaan.
The 24-year-old had conducted a study on statelessness issues in Malaysia with a researcher for the Malaysian Human Rights Commission. Due to his perseverance and positive outlook, Shashivarmaan had been chosen to represent Malaysia at the prestigious Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI) in the United States.
Shashivarmaan, later on, thanked his family, lecturers, friends, and the foundation for being part of his successful journey.
Congratulations on the prestigious award Shashivarmaan and good luck with more future endeavors.