MALAYSIANS KINI Like any other 15-year-old, Ivan Avannus of SM St Michael Penampang, Sabah, was scrolling through his Facebook when he saw an advertisement on the inaugural Sime Darby Young Innovators Challenge (SDYIC) on his newsfeed.
“They said they were looking for innovators to join this camp, and I already had an idea lingering at the back of my mind for a while now, so I decided to sign up,” he said during an interview with Malaysiakini.
At the camp, he was placed in the same team as three other teenagers; fellow Sabahan Ezra Robert, 15, from All Saints’ Anglican Academy, Allegra Chan, 16, who is from Lodge International School Sarawak and Joseph Chung, 14, from Tunku Putra.
“Initially we were awkward (around each other), but then we realised we were kind of the same type of people so we clicked,” Avannus said.
This team eventually went on to win the SDYIC on a national level in June this year, with their innovation; Robin Food, a mobile application and desktop website.
“It is an application that connects supermarkets which have extra food with NGOs which do not have enough food to feed the needy.
“The supermarket can key in how much extra food they have and the NGO can request how much food they need,” Chung explained.
For Chung, he said, his school had put up the flyer for the camp only two days before the deadline, so he almost did not sign up for it.
Meanwhile, for Chan and Robert, they found out about SDYIC through their teachers.
“My teacher introduced it to me and I joined because it seemed fun,” Chan said.
“At first I was a bit hesitant to join because I don’t know what it is, but in the end, I do not regret it,” Robert said.
All four of the teenagers were neatly dressed in Sime Darby red shirts as they were attending the launch of the app later that afternoon, but while Avannus and Chung were more eager to talk about their experiences, Chan and Robert appeared to be more reserved.
They spoke about the camp they attended, which Avannus said was very different from others he had attended as they were very open and respectful of all ideas.
It created an environment where those participating in the camp were not afraid to put out their ideas, he said.