Success Stories

Hardcore Poor



Income Before: RM 300 – Income After: RM 2,000

With a wife, 3 children and another one on the way, Mik was at a loss on what to do to improve their financial situation after facing an accident which caused him to lose his fingers. He couldn’t afford to buy his kids new clothes or a tertiary education. After the program, he eventually transformed into a confident businessman, and his children no longer wears hand-me-downs.

As a strong and healthy young man, 26-year-old Mik worked in a wood factory and was the sole breadwinner of the family. One day, as he was repairing a plywood cutting machine, his right hand slipped into the cutter, which caused him to lose three fingers. After 2 years, Mik, who had already embraced the “Person with Disability” status, decided to quit his job at the wood factory as he felt humiliated and stressed by his peers due to his physical disability and inability to take on heavy tasks.

After losing his source of income, Mik’s wife who was at that time pregnant with their third child, had a medical complication. With their desperate condition and Mik having quit his job, he decided to find his own source of income in order to pay for his wife’s bills. Some of the things he did was to look for crystal stones to sell to Chinese shop owners or at the local market. He also did some gardening by planting fruits and vegetables as well as making crafts from tree branches and roots. Mik’s unique crafts of house replicas had always been able to catch an art lover’s heart. From his hard work, Mik started to save and opened a small grocery shop in their village in 2007. However, a business without good marketing left him nowhere to go. The money that they earned from the small business was only enough to tend to their daily needs including food and rent, but never more.

He couldn’t afford the fees to send his children to higher institution, even though his children were bright with excellent results. One of Mik’s children, who had achieved good results in SPM had to bury his dream of furthering his studies and started working to support the family. Mik was in despair as he was unable to do anything, considering the financial situation they were currently in. The children shared their school uniforms and daily clothes but have never worn new ones. The younger ones grew up with hand-me-downs, and the cycle continues. Growing up, the children, along with Mik and his wife, only ate rice with small-sized fishes where the fishes were rationed for everyone. At school, the children always brought food every day as Mik couldn’t give them pocket money.

Mik’s life turned around 180 degrees after attending the R.I.S.E. program in July 2016. Mik, who was a shy person, is now reborn as a man with confidence after learning about the Awareness and Change module, where he learnt to eliminate negative thoughts and think positively. With the knowledge he learned and a positive mindset, he managed to use the ideas and business strategies to engage with customers. By implementing the Customer Value Proposition module, Mik took an initiative by traveling to the construction area to target the immigrant workers to sell groceries to them. His strategy received good reactions from the workers as he has given them easier access to grocery needs rather than going out to the market. This eventually became a ‘moving grocery service’, which made his business unique as per the learnings from the Blue Ocean module and it has caused a sharp increase in his income! 

Besides that, Mik noticed a market gap, which he learned from the Customer Analysis module. Because customers often prefer crystal stones as home decorations, Mik started to become active in selling crystal stones at the market and to handicraft traders once again. Mik then eventually started to sell second-hand clothes at the market too.

With an income of RM2,000 per month, Mik can finally feel at ease as compared to the days when he used to earn RM300, before attending the R.I.S.E. program. Their lives became more comfortable and they don’t need to ration and stinge on food as crucially as before. Mik is now able to afford proper nutrition for his family, where they have a balanced diet and able to maintain a healthy lifestyle. On top of that, he can now afford to buy his family clothes, so his children no longer have to worry about hand-me-downs that don’t fit properly. 

By the end of 2016, Mik successfully purchased, in cash, a second-hand Perodua Kancil. With this car, Mik can now send his children to school and bring his family to town. He never forgets his roots, thus helping as many as he could. Whenever any of the villagers wanted to go to town or require help to transport their things, Mik would happily comply without putting any charge. He believes it is the way for him to share the wealth he has now. 



Income Before: RM 500 – Income After: RM 1,000

Born the eldest among 5 children, Sukri was considered a burden among his family after being diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy. This caused him difficulties in controlling his muscles. Despite the difficulties faced, Sukri was determined to be independent. After attending the program, he went on to grow his massage business and now proves himself to be worth more than what he thought.

Born and bred in Sipitang, Sabah, Mohd Sukri who came from a family of 7 was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy since birth. His brain damage affected his life physically as it caused difficulties in controlling his own muscles. Because of that, he became timid and passive, with a quiet personality. Like any normal child, Sukri always wanted to be loved and appreciated by his family but had never experienced it. This was especially hard when he is the first child of five. His family was embarrassed of his condition and ended up cocooning Sukri at home. He remembered how his family frequently goes out to the market while leaving him alone in the house. On top of that, Sukri’s treatment was very costly. Due to his family’s poor financial situation, they decided not to send Sukri to school. 

Although he was confined and considered a burden by his own family, never had Sukri thought about giving up; it motivated him to find opportunities to improve his life. With his strong will, Sukri registered and stayed at a charity home in Kota Kinabalu – Rumah Amal Sabah, which is 2 hours away from his hometown. At that place he calls home, he learned the art of reflexology. After mastering the skill, customers who wish to use his service may invite him for a massage session at their respective homes. 

In February 2016, he attended R.I.S.E. along with his other friends who were also People with Disabilities. With his new-found knowledge of business ideas and strategies, the turning point of his life came when Sukri was able to earn as much as RM1,000 a month, as compared to earning just RM500. Using what he learned from the Sales Personality module, instead of waiting for clients to come and pay for his service at the charity home, Sukri moved around actively to find people he can serve and use his new-found skills to connect with his customers. 

Due to their skills and the implementation of what they learned from the Social Media Marketing module, Sukri and his friends would often promote through social media and flyers. With the growing business, they eventually decided to open a massage booth at the charity home. Sukri also thought about starting a business at his hometown, so he is saving his income till the day comes.  

In February 2018, Sukri added a special room at their charity home for business purposes, as per what he learned from the Customer Value Proposition module. It made things easier for his customers as they can now easily find him, and he started getting regular customers. Now that the new room exists, customers can come anytime to experience Sukri’s massaging services.

After a few months of living his life in the charity home, Sukri decided to return to his family at Sipitang. Previously, he can only go home occasionally as transportation costs were expensive; RM35 for a one-way taxi service. Now he has no problem in paying the bill. With his current earnings, Sukri can go to-and-fro between his hometown and the charity home once or twice every week, depending on customers’ demands. Sometimes, he will stay at the charity home for one or two weeks when the demands were high or if he was invited to join carnivals around Kota Kinabalu.

Today, Sukri’s family has never been prouder of his achievements. They learned to accept him for who he is, and they have become closer than ever. Living in a village, Sukri’s family occasionally talks about him to the villagers, priding their son’s achievements. The son, whom they thought incapable of doing anything, is now contributing to the household by purchasing groceries and other needs for the family. He would often provide them financial help whenever needed and they couldn’t be prouder of him.

Sukri used to draw on Social Welfare’s allowances to cover his daily expenses. Nowadays, he keeps the money as additional savings along with the income he acquired. He has also managed to purchase a set of foot bath machines worth RM2,000 each. He plans to have a few more of the said tools as he dreams of opening a reflexology center in Sipitang. Sukri believes with his entire being that nothing is impossible if he keeps working hard and focus on achieving his ambition.



Income Before: PHP 0 – Income After: PHP12,655

After losing her right leg due to an accident, life was hard for Zyn especially since she and her husband barely has the resources to feed their children. Because of that, the kids had to be sent away to their relative while they struggle with their business. After attending the program, ZYN learned to use the teachings and further improved the business. Because of that, she and her husband can finally take their children back and live as a whole family once again.

Zyn has always felt that all throughout her life, she has faced nothing but hardships.  At a young age, she lost her right leg from the knee down due to a tumour that grew after she got into a vehicular accident.  She eventually married another PWD whose main source of income was playing and renting out chess materials.  Every now and then, she also manufactured chairs.  Customers were very scarce, and their family had always struggled to make ends meet.

A month before joining the R.I.S.E. Program, she and her husband had nothing.  They had no resources to feed their 4 children.  During that time, the last customer they had was more than a month ago.  With a heavy and broken heart, she was left with no choice but to bring her children to her relatives and leave them there until she found a way to support them again. 

Sadly, her children were already used to this. Whenever their family was struggling financially, their children were sent to their relatives, who lives in a different part of the vast region. They kept going back and forth. It became a painful yet endless routine. Because of this, her own children were emotionally distant to her. She never really stopped trying to find ways to support her family. Her father once gave her some capital to start-up a small sari-sari store.  However, after a year of the store’s opening, her father died, and their sari-sari store closed.  This made her extremely depressed and she lost all her confidence to start anew. 

Shortly after leaving her kids to her relatives, she was invited to attend the R.I.S.E. program. On the first day of training, she felt a glimmer of hope for her and her family, something that she has not felt in a long while. After learning and going through the modules, her fighting spirit was suddenly renewed, and she found the strength to get up and try again.  She applied what she learned from the training, particularly the Business Profiling module, and started making binangkal and puto cheese.  The whole family became involved in her start-up and helped her run her business. She started looking for more customers, using the learnings from the Sales Strategy modules and started giving out promotional discounts as well.  On the third month after the 3-day RISE training, her monthly income went from zero to PHP12,655.

Because of her new income, she went back to her relatives and was able to take back all her children. She now lives happily with all of her 4 children and her husband.  She can now bring food on their table and afford to support her children’s school needs. She has also paid off all her debts and could now afford small luxuries for her family and her new business. Recently, she was able to buy a stand fan for their home, and a new stove for cooking her binangkal and puto cheese. 

Since she got her kids back, she mentioned that they became much closer to her. Her family is now whole again. She says: “I realized that I can provide for my children, and I am no longer afraid of whatever challenges the future may bring, because I already know how to rise back up. We are like this now… we are happy. RISE program has helped bring my family back together and has brought all of us closer to each other.”



Income Before: PHP 2,500 – Income After: PHP 57,000

Rolando used live a healthy and active lifestyle until one day, he lost his sense of sight due to an accident during a basketball match. Because of that, he fell into depression as a teen and became suicidal. Eventually, he started a small massage business, but it became stagnant. After attending the program, he became more motivated and worked hard to improve his business. Today, he is currently giving back to society by teaching other people with disabilities how to provide massages for free, so that they too can earn a living.

“God has given me this talent, and I feel that I need to share my blessings with others.”

At 17, Rolando was your typical teenager.  He played sports, had a lot of friends, and he was confident that he had his whole life ahead of him.  Everything was going well for him until one day, during a basketball match with his friends, he suffered from a head trauma that led to him suddenly losing his sense of sight.  Frustrated and depressed, 17-year old Rolando felt lost and worthless.  At 17, he made several attempts to end his life.

Since then, life had been up and down for Rolando.  He eventually got married to a supportive wife who helped him start a small massage business in the city.  However, in 2010, Typhoon Sendong wiped out his shop and forced him to evacuate and stop operations.  In 2012, he was able to revive his business, but his profits were barely enough to maintain its operations and support his family.  

In 2018, Rolando was invited to participate in the R.I.S.E. Program.  After the three-day training, he felt that the knowledge he gained could really help him improve the operations of his business.  For instance, he applied the Blue Ocean module instantly and sold liniment oils to his clients.  He also adjusted his operating hours to accommodate more customers in his shop, applying what he learnt from the Customer Analysis module.  

Through the R.I.S.E. Program, he learned about the importance of being driven by a cause amidst success.  Therefore, he decided to give back to the community by training 15 blind and underprivileged persons on massage therapy for free.  Apart from teaching, he also shouldered the cost for the materials and food during the training.  He hopes to conduct another batch of training to reach out to more blind people and help them regain their self-worth by enabling them to become productive members of society.


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