In 2009, former students of the Bukit Bintang Girls’ School (BBGS), who share a vision to inspire young people to be their best and to give their best, rallied together to begin what would be a fulfilling journey of helping underprivileged young Malaysians pursue their dream of tertiary education.
This led to the birth of the Elena Cooke Education Fund, established in memory of BBGS’s longest-serving headmistress, the late Miss Elena Maude Cooke, who was a strict disciplinarian yet widely known for her love for her students and her readiness to lend a helping hand to those in need.
Inspired by her loving example, the Elena Cooke Education Fund emphasises on assisting disadvantaged and financially needy young people to empower them for life through education.
Each year, the Elena Cooke Education Fund welcomes scholarship applications from disadvantaged and financially needy SPM (Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia) and STPM (Sijil Tinggi Persekolahan Malaysia) students who have received their results and are contemplating their options for the future.
Moey Yoke Lai, Chairman of BBGS Alumni which manages the Fund, said, “For these poverty-stricken students, education is key to break free from the cycle of poverty. Yet, many of them may not have the opportunity or access to further education due to financial constraints. This is where the Elena Cooke Education Fund offers a distinct difference.
“We open an opportunity for them to tap into a scholarship fund that empowers them to nurture their education potential without the worry of finances.
“While financial neediness is high on the list of criteria for selection, scholarship recipients must also possess good academic performance, demonstrate a keen involvement in extra-curricular activities and have good character,” she added.
Today, 14 years later, the Elena Cooke Education Fund has helped 56 needy students achieve their dreams and many have done well for themselves. Moey said the Elena Cooke Education Fund continues to pursue collaborations and avenues to raise funds to help more students in need.
24-year-old Goh Sing Joy is just one of many Elena Cooke Education Fund scholars who are grateful they could chart a different course in life.
“Without the scholarship, most probably, I would have been driven to get a job instead of completing a degree,” said Sing Joy, whose family includes a single mum, who is not able to work for health reasons, and an older brother.
Through the Elena Cooke Education Fund, Sing Joy pursued a 3-year Bachelor of Information Technology (Honours) in Software Systems Development course at Tunku Abdul Rahman University College (TARUC) in 2019 after completing her STPM.
“I am very thankful for the opportunity and support in my educational expenses. It allowed me to concentrate on my studies and lighten my family’s burden,” she added.
Sing Joy’s education journey has left her feeling on top of the world as she has completed her course with Distinction, after having been on the Dean’s List four times at TARUC.
This young and bright scholar has since secured a good position at a company providing ERP (enterprise resource planning) services and is now able to contribute financially to her family.
Kudos to Sing Joy for her determination and perseverance!
The Elena Cooke Education Fund is now looking to help more young Malaysians like Sing Joy to achieve their dreams and open doors to a brighter future.
Moey shared that the Elena Cooke Education Fund has been made possible through strong support of corporate and individual donors as well as collaborations with institutions of higher learning.
These include Sunway College, Sunway University and HELP University which waive all tuition fees and general fees, while the Elena Cooke Education Fund provides allowances for accommodation, books and other living expenses.
Students who apply to selected public universities are also eligible to apply for scholarships. However, these will be only partial scholarships.
2023 applications are now open to SPM (Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia) and STPM students who have received their examination results. Closing date is 2 weeks after the 2022 SPM or STPM (whichever is the later) results are announced.
More information and the application form can be downloaded from BBGS ECEF Scholarship 2023.