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Empowering youth as leaders of multicultural Malaysia

If enough youth grow up valuing diversity and inclusion, national change can be ushered in the near future.

At the heart of our youth programmes, we aim to promote respect for others, positive attitudes to diversity in society, gender sensitivity, mutual trust and understanding. Through progress towards these intrapersonal and interpersonal goals, we lay the foundation for mutual respect, justice, social inclusion and good governance in the wider society. AOD does this by means of empathy built through intimate interpersonal relationships across identity groups that will create positive social dynamics for co-living.

I've learnt so much about the different lives that a "Malaysian teenager" can have. Discussing serious topics like racism, sexism, and discrimination as a whole, has shown me how different people get treated even though we as humans had never chosen these certain things to happen to us in the first place. This safe space has genuinely let all of us express all our deepest emotions and thoughts without being judged as well allowed us to have access to a group of people who would actually listen to said emotions and thoughts.

- Shaun Amir Renoo, 2020 Short Course Alum

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Preparing youth as champions for a Malaysia for all

Our youth programmes prepare youth with the knowledge, motivation and skills to engage with larger issues of exclusion and discrimination in Malaysia. By investing in individual-level change today, we plant the seeds for social change in the future. Our programmes have consistently been able to reduce prejudice levels among youth and empowered them to engage as youth changemakers.

Youth participants from various schooling streams, racial groups and states in our 2018 residential Short Course.

I now see racism in Malaysia in a different light; I now regard it as a steppingstone for our country's development and maturation. The deliberation in the carefully curate syllabus has provided me with instruments to dissect discrimination from our biological construction to related-historical events to contemporary challenges of discrimination that occur both locally and worldwide over different periods of time. My joy is getting to know the group of heart-warming advocates, genuine lecturers, and our hard-working and diligent writing mentors. It's my first time being a part of such a welcoming community that welcomes a wide range of things about our identities that I would never normally be able to discuss. I appreciate for the lessons learnt on the way.

- Siew Ching, 2021 Akar Umbi Kita Alum

Developing new curricula and content to navigate an increasingly challenging world

While various efforts to teach values such as respect and harmony are emphasised, the Malaysian education system is not equipped with contextual knowledge on issues such as discrimination and group-based conflict in a democratic setting. Our programmes employ innovative methods and content that challenge conventional knowledge on Malaysia's racial system and invites youth to envision a more inclusive and equal nation.

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Using socio-psychological measures for evaluation, our programmes have consistently improved participants' intergroup attitudes and inclusion of others in one's self identity.

Our alumni have used programme resources and networks to pursue their own projects. Many have gone on to organise their own community workshops, intern with human rights organisations and directly participate in politics. 

Since 2018, we have empowered over 500 youth across different programmes. Our alumni community provides continuous engagement and opportunities for youth all over the nation.

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