Meet Hannah Kam of Organisation for National Empowerment

On our third "Change The World" story, we met with Hannah Kam, who founded the Organisation for National Empowerment.
Reading time 5 minutes

Empowerment comes in many forms and like we always say, "Youth is no handicap when it comes to helping those in need".

So for our third story in the "Change The World" series, we found Hannah Kam, a lady who aims to empower youths in the name of building a better Malaysia.

Hannah Kam, Organisation for National Empowerment (ONE)

Like Rebekah Yeoh of Nimble Fingers Cambodia, this is one lady of beauty, brains and brawn.

A lawyer by profession, Hannah Kam specialised in litigation and spent a lot of her time doing advocacy, which eventually paved the path for her to co-found Organisation for National Empowerment (ONE).

A self-proclaimed nation-building NGO, ONE was founded on the basis of wanting to ensure that Malaysia has a bright future by seeking reformation in five key areas of national life: education, women empowerment, politics, democracy and national unity.

And here is her story on how she found this amazing organisation:

"We want to encourage the youth of today – who are the leaders of tomorrow – to get involved in ensuring that their future is secured."

How was ONE conceived?

We are actually friends and like-minded people who wanted to start an organisation to ensure that Malaysia has a positive and strong future. In recent years, there has been a lot of negativity in the country.

I’m not going to say whether or not it’s justified but I feel that if people are going to criticise, they should do it constructively; rather than saying, “This is bad.” – we should say, “This is how we can improve things.”


So what is the goal of ONE?

With ONE, we set up innovative reforms that we hope Malaysia can achieve by 2057, the 100th anniversary of our independence. We want to encourage the youth of today – who are the leaders of tomorrow – to get involved in ensuring that their future is secured.

Tell us more about the vision of 2057 that ONE has.

2057 is our mantra; something we’re working towards. Hence all of our events and projects serve the purpose of 2057.

For example, some of our projects include visiting orphanages and trying to instil a love for reading in orphans, which would go towards our education goals as well as improving language skills.


What are the other projects ONE hosted?

Our more policy-oriented work comes from initiatives such as our flagship event last year where we invited Malaysians from all over the country to have discussions in different clusters; we had the democracy cluster, education cluster, women empowerment cluster and so on.

From there, we were able to start our charter, which would be our core document to show us the way going forward.

Why did you specifically choose to focus on building a better nation for Malaysia?

Out of love for my country. I think there’s too much negativity especially amongst my generation; negativity without any sort of constructiveness.

There isn’t a solid solution to the problems, or at least an attempt to work towards a solution. I studied overseas for approximately six years but ultimately Malaysia is home and I feel that every Malaysian has a responsibility to play a role in securing the future of our country.


How do you see the progress so far?

I cannot guarantee that we at ONE can change everything. I don’t even know if we can guarantee a change in 30 or 40 years, but what I do know for sure is that if we don’t try, things are definitely not going to go well for us as a country.

As the younger generation of today, we definitely want to work towards a better Malaysia for our children and grandchildren.

If you could change the world, what aspect of it would you change and how?

I want to change the way people think of education. It’s not just instilling academic learning in children, but also values that they may not necessarily teach in schools like punctuality, decorum in public places and cleanliness.

To find out more about ONE and join the cause, head on to

Photography: Chintoo
Styling: Jeffrey Yan
Makeup: KF Bong
Hair: Cody Chua



This article is originally published in our L'Officiel Malaysia May 2017 print edition.

To read more exclusive stories, you can get your copy at newsstands and bookstores in Malaysia or subscribe to our digital copy here.



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