Ain Husniza Saiful Nizam is an advocate for safer schools. Her hashtag #makeschoolasaferplace went viral and recently completed a Global You Changemaker program with AFS and shared her experience with Budaya Beat. 

Tell us about yourself and family. 

My name is Ain Husniza, I’m 17 years old and I come from Cheras, Selangor. My family is categorised as B40 and we are currently registered as an ASNAF family under Lembaga Zakat Selangor. I am the eldest of 5 siblings.

What was your reaction when you were offered to do the award-winning Global You Changemaker program?

I was both shocked and excited. Coming from an underprivileged family, there weren’t many opportunities for me to widen my horizons or do international level training courses so I was truly honoured to be offered the chance to do the GYC and gain new perspectives.

What are your favourite topics in GYC and why?

It has to be the Story of Self, Us and Now. It helps me in clarifying why I want to do something and how I can apply the tools to help others.

If you remember the iceberg theory, at the top you see the visible and obvious, and below the water are the invisible things that influence things that are visible. How people see you is this spunky, brave girl. What are invisible values about you that influences how people see you, especially since your initiative went viral?

This is really funny to me because in real life and under normal circumstances, I am much more of a quiet and reserved person. It’s not that I’m shy but just less talkative by nature.. unless it involves issues that I am highly passionate about. A lot of people have told me they were surprised to see this different side of me when I am not advocating for student’s rights.

After attending the GYC, how did it help you improve your #makeschoolasaferplace initiative? What was the feedback you received from your facilitators?  

It helped me with clarifying my goals and how I can manifest my intent on making sexual health education a more comprehensive and effective subject. It must provide young people with honest, age-appropriate information and skills necessary to help them take personal responsibility for their health and overall well-being. In the end, I managed to prototype my colouring book to provide sex and autonomy education that is age-appropriate to young children.

What skills would you like to acquire to advance yourself besides getting an academic qualification?

I would like to be more confident and eloquent so I can speak on issues that I’m passionate about with greater conviction and gain acceptance, understanding and empathy from my audiences.

Any advice to your peers on how they can be a changemaker?

It is to never confine yourself in a box and to always learn and question everything around you.  Get to know people, understand their realities and respect boundaries. Also, communicate and clarify before any misunderstanding arises. To fix an issue, you will need to converse with the direct stakeholders involved and you may just be able to help them understand perspectives better.