At the age of 18, Aziza Aznizan embarked on a remarkable journey that would shape her life’s mission and inspire meaningful change. Today, she stands as a model, a PhD student, and the co-founder of Paint The World Malaysia, a non-governmental organization (NGO) committed to supporting marginalized communities.
Born and raised in Sarawak, Malaysia, Aziza’s early experiences in diverse environments fueled her desire to create a more inclusive world. Despite being a minority in her Chinese-stream private secondary school, and later as one of the few Muslims at the United World College Atlantic (UWC Atlantic) in the UK, Aziza used these situations to cultivate friendships across nationalities and ethnicities.
However, Aziza’s journey was not without challenges. During her stay in the UK and the US, she faced anti-Muslim sentiment, experiencing hurtful incidents due to her hijab. Rather than succumbing to negativity, she chose to channel her experiences into raising awareness about her culture and religion. Aziza firmly believes that greater inclusivity fosters understanding among different races, religions, backgrounds, and values.
In 2015, Aziza and fellow students founded Paint The World, advocating for inclusivity and youth empowerment. Aziza established the local branch in Malaysia, focusing on creating a supportive community for underprivileged youth. Support from Malaysian ministers and community leaders bolstered the organization’s growth.
Paint The World Malaysia’s projects have included language courses for Rohingya refugees and the United World Academy, an educational platform for disadvantaged youths. Aziza’s education in International Relations and International Law equipped her to navigate challenges and advocate effectively.
Featured Image Source: New Strait Times