Not all superheroes wear a cape and Shivanee Selvaratnam is definitely one of them. Making the world a better place is no mean feat but Shivanee is also no regular Jane. Through her social enterprise called Asia Weaves, Shivanee has been channeling funds to sustain a private school located in the Pure Life Society (PLS) premises in Puchong that provides a Human Value Based Education for free.
The students at the school are mainly from the Pure Life shelter as well as the needy children in the surrounding areas. The cost of running the school is approximately RM750, 000.00 annually and is funded by donations from well-wishers and some corporate bodies. Since 2013, Shivanee has been organising a series of annual fund-raising events for the benefit of the school. In 2017, Asia Weaves organised the “Super Singers 5: A Musical Journey Through Time” Concert and raised a whooping RM173,000 through the generous support of the sponsors, well-wishers and ticket sales.
This year, Asia Weaves will be hosting popular South Indian standup comedian, Alexander Babu Arulanthu. Alex makes a quick stop in Kuala Lumpur for his show called ‘Alex In Wonderland: A Solo Standup Comedy Special’ on the 21st April 2019 at the HGH Galaxy Hall, Sentul, Kuala Lumpur. Alex has had sold-out shows and successful tours in the USA, Australia, Canada and Singapore. As the excitement builds up towards the event. we catch up with the woman behind this event, Shivanee Selvaratnam.
What inspired you to start a social enterprise as Asia Weaves?
My husband and I attended a function at Sekolah Rendah Sathya SAI (SRSS) in 2012, where the Chairman of the Board of Governors, Mr. K. Jegadeva spoke of his dream to have a SAI Secondary School. What makes the SAI School special is their emphasis that the purpose of education is to inculcate virtues and character in every individual. “The SAI System of Education does not exist to make you better than everyone else. It exists to make you better for everyone else.” His passion and vision struck a deep chord in me.
Asia Weaves has been contributing towards a human value based education school in the Pure Life Society for some time now. How have you been contributing towards the school?
We started off as an online saree store on a Facebook Platform in 2013 with a tagline – “Shopping for a Cause!” inspired by Ritika Mittal (Mora by Ritika). The timing seemed right, online shopping was soaring in Malaysia and thanks to the support of well-wishers and saree enthusiasts, enabling a pretty decent contribution of RM41,000 plus towards the school fund over the years.
In 2017, prompted by my Mother and nurturing my heart’s calling yet again, Asia Weaves ventured into new territory – this time Event Management hosting our maiden event, The Super Singers 5 of Vijay TV Fame: A Musical Journey Through Time with performer par excellence Anand Aravindakshan accompanied by Rajaganapathy, Fareedha, Siyad & Lakshmi Pradeep which was hosted by our very own Aanantha of THR Raaga fame.
The event was held at the highly esteemed HGH Convention Hall (one of our CSR Partners) to a sell-out crowd of 1,800 people. Together with the very generous support of the sponsors, well-wishers and ticket sales, Asia Weaves successfully raised and donated the entire profits and donations towards the aforementioned Value Based Educational School amounting to RM173,000.
‘Alex In Wonderland – A Solo Standup Comedy Show’ that is happening on 21 April, will be in aid of the school. How will the show support your cause?
Alex has a huge fan following in Malaysia. For those who have not heard of Alex, this will be a perfect opportunity to watch him perform live. Alex In Wonderland – having personally watched the show in Chennai, we couldn’t have hoped for a more apt content as Alex believes in universality, diversity and inclusiveness – values that the School imbibes.
How much funds are you expecting to raise through ‘Alex In Wonderland’?
The target set this round is RM250,000. However, anything more than the amount raised the last round would make me happy.
What can audience expect at the standup show?
This 120-minute show will include his typical rib-tickling and knee-slapping comedy and plenty of music and Tamil. Being passionate about music, Alex steals every opportunity to sing and play his musical instruments. Alex draws from his varied life experiences from growing up in a village in Tamil Nadu to working in corporate America, and brings unique colors to his acts. In this show, his insane optimism towards life will rub off on to you, and he will connect you with your own wonderland. A wonderful show that you can take your children, parents, elders and neighbours along to sit and watch together. The show is wholesome and clean, devoid of vulgarities, politics and religious elements and is suitable for children aged 7 and above .
As a social enterprise, what does the future hold for Asia Weaves?
What the future holds – that I am not able to answer with certainty. Que sera sera, what will be, will be…
However, what Asia Weaves strives for is to expand our pool of CSR Partners. Gaining that trust takes time. At the moment, we have the HGH Convention Centre, Panaron Sdn. Bhd. and Chambers of Shanta Mohan who have all supported us from the very beginning. The Make It Right Movement powered by BAC have also lent us technical support and taught us the ropes of social entrepreneurship. They have all been the bloodline that has made it possible for us to reach where we are today – it’s a collective.
Asia Weaves also continues to ponder on avenues to generate sustainable income to make the SAI Secondary School a reality, in the near future!
‘Alex In Wonderland: A Solo Standup Comedy Special’ on the 21st April 2019 at the HGH Galaxy Hall, Sentul, Kuala Lumpur. For Queries, kindly contact 012-5943987.
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