Sokong Team
Mon Aug 21 2023

Empowering Malaysia's Green Future: Youths United for Earth (YUFE)

Youth & Children
This article features :

Max Han reminisces about time spent in his hometown, Tampin, Negeri Sembilan, enjoying nature as a child in the typical Malaysian kampung fashion - running around barefoot and picking rambutan straight from the trees. It was a beautiful town with ample hills and lush greenery, and it inspired young Max to protect nature.

During his teenage years, Max was determined to take matters into his own hands and take action on advancing local environmentalism. He worked with local communities and children on plastic pollution education and conducted research with conservationists on turtles and colugos, or “flying lemurs”, a common nocturnal animal in Malaysia.

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Through his experiences in community projects, he observed a lack of local narratives when it comes to biodiversity and environmental issues. For instance, the locals are more aware of polar bears than they do of colugos. He also met a lot of young people who are passionate about making a positive impact on the environment in his journey.


At the tender age of 19, Max and Nurfatin Hamzah co-founded Youths United for Earth (YUFE), a nonprofit organisation that mobilises and empowers Malaysian youth for local climate action. In believing that youth is a tour de force for climate action, Max believes that the lack of experience can be made up with passion when being empowered. With that, YUFE has started Malaysia’s first-ever and largest nationwide sustainability mentorship programme.

Connecting aspiring youths with industry professionals

It was the peak of the pandemic in 2020 when the UN SDG-aligned Sustainability Mentorship Programme was first launched, many were struggling with their career, especially the youths in nascent fields, which makes this a more meaningful and impactful intergenerational collaboration that will help share our future generation of environmental leaders. Since the first cycle of the programme, YUFE has successfully connected over 300 Malaysian professionals across the world to more than 500 undergraduates going into green jobs. This programme also prioritises marginalised groups such as B40 and orang asli youths with funding provided for digital access throughout the mentorship programme.

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Shining light on pressing issues

Aside from the mentorship programme, YUFE leverages the power of social media to raise awareness and empower young people who are passionate about the environment. Working closely with different activist groups and non-governmental organisations, YUFE helps to amplify their voice and build solidarity to the issues they are championing for. They have brought attention to the underreported destruction of corals in Pulau Mabul and supported the Penang Tolak Tambak campaign just to name a couple of campaigns.

A note to aspiring activists

Some advice Max Han, Co-Founder of YUFE, has for young people: "Start somewhere. Activism is not just protesting on the streets - it’s OK if you’re not ready, not every region offers the safety and luxury of that. You could write to politicians and media about underreported issues, you could design posters for grassroots groups. Ask yourself what you can offer and just start - the possibilities are endless!

Find a community. Remember, you’re not alone. A friend once told me to think of advocacy like a choir - with so many people singing, the song will hold even when you stop for a breath. So seek your local community, you will find solace and a deep solidarity that sustains you. Change comes with more people, and young people all over the world are stepping up alongside you."

Max Han has recently received The Diana Award, a prestigious award which publicly recognises young changemakers for going above and beyond to create and sustain positive change.

Get connected with YUFE by following them on Instagram and checking out their website. You can also find YUFE on the Sokong platform and start contributing to support our future green leaders.

by malaysiakini

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