According to Lita, farming on their ancestral land is what these women do best. Although they knew the soil was good, they had not been doing so well because they didn’t know which crops were best to plant, nor how to maximise their harvest.
“They were surprised that we were willing to go the extra mile to help and give them gainful work where they could derive more value for their effort. As we put in a lot of effort, they too felt compelled to work with us and make the programme a success,” says Lita.
She stressed that Yayasan PETRONAS does not believe in “parachute initiatives” where you drop in, do a one-off charitable work and leave. The Foundation aims to have sustainable programmes that provide the necessary tools for the communities to grow so that in the long run, these communities can improve their lives and enjoy a steady income stream.
With many senior PETRONAS staff coming from similar backgrounds and communities, some being beneficiaries of the company’s scholarships, the motivation to help is stronger.
“Naturally, they have that passion to give back to their own communities. It’s part of our DNA at PETRONAS,” Lita adds.