Empowering Leadership Through Adversity: Aqilah’s Journey with the TEAM Programme

Aqilah’s journey from self-doubt to self-assuredness is a testament to the transformative impact of the TEAM Programme. At 22 years old and in her final year of law school in Malaysia, Aqilah was no stranger to challenges, particularly her struggle with low self-confidence in public speaking and presenting ideas. Recognizing that this hurdle could hinder her future success, Aqilah took matters into her own hands and embarked on a life-changing journey.

Determined to overcome her self-confidence issues, Aqilah enrolled in the TEAM Programme, driven by the desire to become more optimistic, confident, studious, and ambitious. She was eager to confront her insecurities and hone the skills necessary to thrive in her professional life. The programme, designed by Prince’s Trust International, provided her with a platform to challenge herself and grow.

Aqilah’s transformation began with embracing the programme’s experiential approach, which encourages learning by doing. She wholeheartedly engaged in the process, pushing her boundaries and steadily building her confidence in public speaking and presentations. But it was her decision to step into a leadership role that truly marked a turning point in her journey.

Guided by the TEAM Programme’s philosophy, Aqilah volunteered to lead her team in a community project aimed at enhancing local flood defenses through mangrove tree planting. As the leader, she navigated the project’s intricacies, from setting goals and delegating tasks to problem-solving and conflict resolution. This experience provided her with valuable insights into effective teamwork and leadership, highlighting the importance of dividing larger teams into smaller focused groups.

Supported by facilitators from the programme’s delivery partner, SAY, Aqilah felt empowered by their guidance and insightful feedback. Their mentorship reinforced her self-belief and encouraged her to take ownership of her learning journey. Aqilah recalls, “The facilitators frequently gave us suggestions on what to do, took consideration of our opinions and never patronized us for being inexperienced.”

Aqilah’s newfound skills didn’t remain confined to the programme. Back at her university, she eagerly put her lessons into practice. Speaking up in class and actively contributing to group projects became second nature to her. Her training in teamwork and leadership, specifically her ability to distribute tasks effectively, proved invaluable in her final year law school assignments that required collaborative efforts within a ‘firm’ structure.

As Aqilah sets her sights on a legal career with newfound confidence, she has a message for young individuals considering joining the TEAM Programme: “You will never know your true potential and the opportunities that are laid down in front of you if you keep telling yourself that you’re destined for failure. It’s never too late to try.” Aqilah’s journey reminds us that embracing challenges head-on and seeking growth opportunities can pave the way for personal transformation and empowerment.

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