Arus Academy Co-Founder Alina Amir On Educating The Next Generation

By Chong Jinn Xiung

Through her social enterprise Arus Academy, Alina Amir is nurturing future innovators, thinkers and problem solvers through quality education

Tatler Asia
Alina Amir, co-founder and business development lead of Arus Academy
Cover  Alina Amir, co-founder and business development lead of Arus Academy
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While working as an analyst at a global consulting firm, Alina Amir started to question her purpose. She recounted the opportunities that she'd had in her life, including being able to study overseas at the University of Illinois Chicago, and decided she wanted to help others in Malaysia have similar opportunities when it comes to education.

She signed up with Teach for Malaysia, a non-governmental organisation that aims to provide every child with access to proper education. There, she served as a fellow under a development programme, and taught history and English at a public school for four years. During this time, she came to realise the challenges faced by students from impoverished backgrounds who weren't able to connect what they were learning at school with what was happening in their daily life. 

The idea for Arus Academy struck her then. In 2014, she started the social enterprise with three friends she had met through the NGO.

Arus Academy partners with NGOs, teachers, schools, governments, private sector organisations and community leaders to reach marginalised children. It equips them with skills such as design thinking, robotics, coding and programming through several formats, from experiential learning adventures to innovative workshops and open-source content.

See also: Environmental Activist Renard Siew On The Urgency Of Climate Action

Above  Alina Amir on the importance of equal access to education for all children

In 2020, Arus Academy pivoted from in-person classes to online learning, and conducted workshops to help teachers navigate remote learning. Last year alone, the social enterprise reached over 35,000 students and teachers through its courses and programmes.

The academy also introduces its students to topics such as climate change and the environment by weaving them into everyday lessons. One class, for example, teaches students to write a letter to their representative about climate issues in their English class. “We want to integrate lessons on climate change with academic teachings so that students understand its serious effect and what needs to be done to address it,” says Amir.

Being in education means Alina needs to be at the forefront of technological and sustainability trends, which is why cutting-edge innovations such as the Volvo S60 Recharge speak to her. The plug-in hybrid sedan is designed to inspire change with its eco-conscious engineering and dynamic driving systems, which combine to give a performance that is both enjoyable and practical.

For Alina, this aligns with her mission for Arus Academy—to provide “meaningful education that can make a difference and improve the lives of children”.

Learn more about Volvo's sustainability mission.

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