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From Turmoil to Triumph: Rediscovering Purpose

The following story was written by Elliot Tan, a CARE staff who started journeying with Elvis* (pseudonym) in 2020. 

When Elvis arrived at Malaysian CARE's headquarters at the age of 19, he exuded a quiet and reserved demeanour. Alongside a colleague, we received him for an assessment. In broken English intertwined with Mandarin, he shared that he had been rejected for a scholarship, leaving him feeling lost and demotivated. With his mother's financial difficulties, pursuing college without a scholarship seemed unlikely.

It was evident that Elvis was grappling with internal turmoil, and tears streamed down his face as we engaged in conversation. Over the ensuing months, while helping Elvis explore potential avenues for his future, I discovered that he hailed from a troubled family beset by mental health and financial challenges. Furthermore, Elvis carried burdens of his own. After careful observation and discussions, we determined that a psychological assessment would be beneficial. At the age of 20, Elvis was diagnosed with schizophrenia, and was put on a regimen of medication. Thoughts of university were put on hold. 

During our regular meetings, we discussed his life and his aspirations. As Elvis began working part-time, we guided him through the process of understanding and processing his situation and emotions. We offered support on self-regulation and commit to improving his health. He often despaired—wondering if this was the life he was destined to live—Elvis doubted his ability to be in university. Some late-night phone calls were accompanied by uncontrollable sobs, and weekends were spent waiting at Hospital Kuala Lumpur.

Celebration lunch with Elvis and his mother together with Elliot and Community Development Director, Siew Lin. 

Gradually, Elvis' stability improved, despite his reservations and fears. He embarked on a part-time English course at YMCA KL and expressed his desire to study again. He diligently worked part-time to assist his mother in their shared financial responsibilities too.

Praise God that we managed to secure a sponsor in 2022 who enabled him to finally enrol as a full-time student at Multimedia University (MMU) in Cyberjaya. 

Left: Elvis and his mother on first day of orientation
Right: Elvis settling into MMU hostel

Come the first semester’s end, Elvis beamed with joy, announcing a remarkable GPA of 3.97. Despite still having occasional issues, Elvis is stable. Waiting to start his internship in July, he holds profound hopes for the future. He has improved in his resiliency and continues to move forward in this transformative journey.

*  Name altered to protect identity.
Story written by Elliot Tan, Community Organiser - Service Development (Youth)