Saturday, July 11

Academy founder uses own money to train spa therapists



KOTA KINABALU: The high cost to train and educate people is one of the reasons why many have put off learning and going for further education after finishing their secondary school education.

For cash-strapped family and those living from hand to mouth, further training and education may even be a luxury they had to forgo.

It is with this realisation that founder of Excellence Skill Academy, Stella Matuya, decided to dig into her own resources to provide free training to interested individuals who fall within the poor category in Sabah.

“They remind me of myself when I was young, walking barefoot on muddy grounds during heavy rain to save our slippers as we made our way to school,” she recalled when asked about her motivation.

“I want people who are in hardship, just as I was in my youth, to experience hope and to lead themselves and their family out of the clutches of poverty,” she added.

“I was able to claw myself out of poverty when I started my business in spa therapy. I believe others can do the same. So, this is what I am doing – sharing my knowledge so that others can find their way out,” Stella said.

Since 2018, Stella had to use her own savings to train her trainees.

“There were no more fundings from the government for spa therapy training after that,” she said.

Even the local government has not provided the much needed allocation to help out those in need to fund their training in spa therapy – a proven skill training that could generate a healthy income for its practitioners.

Stella has seen her trainees improve the standard of living of their entire family with their earnings first hand.

“One girl was earning RM200 a month at a handphone shop. She now earns RM5,000 a month. Another trainee is in the process of building a better abode for her parents. And the examples of lives changing for the better goes on,” Stella said.

Despite that, there has not been any help from the government, including the local government.

“I have tried to get in touch with the relevant ministries but it was futile. They appeared to be unwilling to help,” she lamented.

So Stella decided to reach into her own pocket to pay for the trainees and their training herself.

“I will provide them with lodging, food and drinks and cover all the training materials. The entire training is set for six months. They would have to work five years on contract because that is the length of time they will need to really become masters of their own fate and become bosses in the future,” she said.

Those interested can refer to Stella at her Facebook account ‘Excellence Skill Academy’ to enquire more about the program. The next intake will be in September, when only 20 students will be selected.