New Su Shern, 26, Founder and Managing Director of Project Liber8
Wool top, Uniqlo; blazer, Su Shern’s own.
Acting as the voice for those without one, New Su Shern started Project Liber8 when she was only 19 years old. The purpose was to create awareness on the global issue of human trafficking and join in the existing non-profit organisations in Malaysia by providing them with creative inputs. Project Liber8 collabs with companies to organise creative campaigns while shifting barriers between us as a society.
In this New Malaysia, how can we as a society, push for progress?
By getting rid of the “not my problem” mentality. Malaysians need to realise their voices carry a lot of weight and as a society, we play a huge role in improving social issues. These challenges are complex and big but we shouldn’t be afraid to speak out, or to get involved.
What are some of the most impactful milestones you’ve hit with this organization?
Advoc8 Series was a two-day program to educate youths on the issue of human trafficking. After the program, they would be required to use their new knowledge to benefit the cause. Through Advocat8 Youtube, we managed to get several local YouTubers to learn about the issue and produce videos relating to it, and those videos have had a reach of 2.4 million people across Southeast Asia.
What’s your own personal mantra?
“I am confident enough.” When I first started, I was so painfully shy that it’d take me weeks to prepare for a speech with less than 50 people in a crowd. But I’ve found that reminding myself of this every time before I speak and internalising it has really helped my confidence.
Who do you consider as a role model?
The late Irene Fernandez, former Director of Tenaganita. She dedicated her life to doing anti-human trafficking work and I find it very admirable that she was still doing on-ground work when she didn’t need to. Her legacy will forever continue and remembered.
“Carry your confidence well. Ultimately, that is what matters the most.”
— New Su Shern on the ultimate girl code in her books.
How do you wish to empower the next generation of women?
I think by doing what you love without a single care about what other people think is sufficient to empower the next generation of women. We are often very afraid of being judged and we tend to forget our sense of purpose. When I first started Project Liber8, I was focused on the objective.
If there’s one thing you’d like to remove from society, what would it be? Why?
Barriers—the main root cause for a lot of problems. Problems between countries, between borders and even between people. We can definitely make do without this and it’s quite unfortunate that we are living in a world with so much barriers between us that restricts opportunities.