[Who Inspires Us] Cikgu Raihan is Cultivating the Minds of Young Innovators in Rural Sarawak — Maludam!

"This competition is a long journey. Not all kids can do that."

On the 25 of November 2023, Team SK Maludam A from Sarawak presented their winning pitch to a panel of expert judges and a crowd of eager spectators at the Penang International Science Fair held in the Spice Arena, Penang. For Teacher Raihan, the teacher in charge of the team, this was a surreal experience as it was their first time joining the Junior Innovate competition.

This win was more than just an award under the belt of students, Syahir and Ashraff. It was a testament that kids in rural areas are more than capable of competing and even winning tech competitions at a national level. This was one boundary that they could easily break.

Since returning home with the gold, SK Maludam has received numerous requests and visits from other schools across Malaysia to benchmark their robotics clubs, the birthplace of their award-winning team. ‘It’s a good thing,’ Teacher Raihan remarked modestly, ‘no one knew where Maludam was before.’

However, their innovation journey didn’t just start there. With the support of his tech-savvy headmaster, Teacher Raihan signed up for JI2023 and attended the Train-The-Trainer (TTT) session run by Chumbaka Kuching in UNIMAS.

Soon after the hands-on workshop, Teacher Raihan with the help of the second teacher-in-charge helped his students to realise their potential and proudly take ownership of their work. As this was a tough journey, he credits the other teacher’s creativity in helping to foster the spirit of innovation among the teams. Once the state-level competition in Sibu came around, under his guidance Team SK Maludam played into their strengths achieving success. Thus, allowing them to compete in the JI2023 National Final.

Teacher Raihan states, ‘I joined because I saw potential in my kids and I saw their interest in coding. I was looking for a window to showcase their talents.’ Teacher Raihan’s passion for his students, school and community allows him to be an agent for positive change that will have lasting impacts for many years to come.