Siti Adawiyiah Hassan
While other 15-year- olds only had to worry about homework, Aida was already working part-time at KFC to support her family which includes six younger siblings.
But as the responsibilities became heavier, she realised that the only way for her to keep on providing for her family was to give up school.
Thankfully, hard work and perseverance paid off and she was able to use her EPF savings to resume her studies and graduate with a Human Resources diploma from Universiti Teknologi Malaysia – all this while still working at KFC.
Today, Aida has been with KFC for over 20 years and is the restaurant manager at the KFC Community Care Restaurant at Sentul Raya. Here, one of her primary tasks is to coach the speech and hearing-impaired staff – a responsibility she is very passionate about as she has a special needs relative. Aida’s commitment to the cause is evident: She learnt to sign from the Internet. On top of that, her family also supports her by using sign language at home.
It really took courage and faith for Aida to rise above her circumstances and bring her family out of poverty. She is grateful for having the opportunity to work with KFC as it helped her support her siblings to achieve their own aspirations. One of them holds the rank of Captain in the armed forces today.
She recalls with pride how a regular customer once told her how impressed he was to see her patiently mentor the special needs staff.
“Actually, my colleagues are the ones who inspire me to be better. Despite the great challenges they face, they show they can be hardworking and they enjoy what they do… and that motivates me to keep going.”
Happy International Women’s Day, Aida. And thank you for inspiring us with your selfless dedication to family and to those with special needs.
Mardiah bt Hussin & Mariam bt Hussin
Mardiah & Mariam are twin sisters from Sabah, the youngest of four children.
Their father passed away when they were just 6 years old, leaving their mother to single-handedly support the family by selling 'rojak', fruits and drinks. It was tough on everyone.
“Those days, we couldn’t afford textbooks… going to school was a luxury… but we are forever grateful to our mother for putting us through school,” Mariam recalls.
After SPM, they decided to work at KFC to gain experience and earn some pocket money. They then decided to move to Peninsular Malaysia to seek better opportunities for themselves – filling up positions at KFC Taman Tun Dr Ismail.
However, the call of home was too strong for them. One year after making the move to Kuala Lumpur, they decided to return home to Sabah, where they joined the local hospitality industry – a hotel in Sitiawan.
It didn't take very long for them to return to Kuala Lumpur though – and to KFC. As front counter staff of a quick service restaurant, the sisters fight stereotypes almost every day.
“We learnt to ignore the haters and respect their views… we get a lot of comments that we won’t get anywhere in this job,” quips Mardiah. “One of the reasons why we love working at KFC is the constant motivation and support that we receive from our family, friends and mentors. That really helped us to keep going,” she adds.
Part of their motivation comes from their interactions with regular KFC customers who noticed their excellent service, handling and good attitude. These customers often compliment them, and have even offered the sisters job opportunities elsewhere.
Mariam joins in, “I think that when you love doing what you do, customers can see it and they will appreciate your efforts.”
Happy International Women’s Day, Mardiah & Mariam. And thank you for inspiring us with your passion.
Ee Yan A/P Lim
At 57 years old, Ee Yan is one of the oldest and longest serving staff at the KFC Kangar outlet, where she has been working for 25 years.
It all started way back in 1993 when her husband divorced her. To make matters worse, she just had a baby.
Faced with the prospect of having to raise a young child alone, she went to work at KFC at the ripe old age of 32.
It certainly was not easy – she had to travel 10km one way by motorcycle, braving all kinds of weather to get to work; and dark, lonely roads to get home.
In spite of her hardships, Ee Yan has remained positive and steadfast in her goal to ensure her son gets the education he needs. When asked about what keeps her going, she cites the friendly working environment and support from her colleagues, managers and the company.
“Never give up… the best way is to take whatever life throws at you and use them to inspire yourself to be successful and to prove that you can provide the best for your children,” she says.
Today, she plays the role of work mother by mentoring the younger employees. And she still rides to work on her trusty old motorcycle.
Happy International Women’s Day, Ee Yan. And thank you for inspiring us with your fearless determination.