BTOP is short for “Bring the Opportunity Programme”. It is an initiative to bring more opportunities for the youth to get involved with various motivational programmes. BTOP targets adolescents from the B40 community.
“In Kelantan, some youths are engaging in illicit activities such as street racing, gambling and such. Statistically, one in 25 secondary school students are involved in drug abuse, and some of those affected are as young as 7 years old,” said Rudie Yaakob, the co-founder of BTOP Sports Academy.
“I came from a poor family, but because I achieved good academic results in the SPM exam, I was given the opportunity to pursue a tertiary education. Then, I went to work for a major telco. I successfully moved from B40 up to M40. Not everybody gets the chance to do that,” he explained.
How It Started
In 2014, on the way home from work, Rudie noticed some adolescents racing on the road. He decided he would not resort to the easy way out by complaining to the authorities. He thought it was time he personally did something about it. He wanted to help them, so that they could get back on track and make something of themselves. That was how it began.
Rudie started by gathering the neighbourhood youths to get to know each other better. It then grew into an opportunity for the kids to play football under the guidance of a proper coach. He became a model figure and left an indelible mark in the lives of those youths. That became the foundation of BTOP Academy.
In 2015, BTOP was offered the opportunity to engage with problematic or at-risk youths in Bachok, Kelantan via sports to help them. Since then, BTOP has given numerous opportunities for youths to join free football training sessions managed by experienced coaches and volunteers.
In 2017, Rudie officially established BTOP Academy as a social enterprise, because he recognised the positive impacts the activities had on the adolescents.
“We offer motivational programmes through sports such as football, futsal, archery and softball. Besides that, our programmes also incorporate emotional management skills and a healthy lifestyle. We try to capture their attention to get them interested in engaging in more positive and active programmes,” said Rudie.
“The main issue is lack of self-confidence. We hope that the tips and guidance from the professional coaches will help to lift them up and help them to build a brighter future for themselves. We hope the impact will be lasting so that the kids can flourish with their peers and not get left out or left behind,” he added.
Currently, BTOP offers sports programmes, community programmes and emotional coaching. The programmes help adolescents to develop their self-confidence and trust themselves.
Recently, BTOP partnered with Yayasan Hasanah to help 60 students who failed their Bahasa Melayu (BM) and Sejarah (History) papers in the SPM examination in 2020. These are two subjects that they have to pass in order to pass their SPM.
“We invited the cikgu pakar (expert teachers) of these two subjects to teach them, to give them support. After that, they retook their exams and 42 of the 60 students passed. That means they get their SPM certificates,” said Rudie.
Besides that, BTOP is a part of the Pemangkin Usahawan Sosial Hebat (PUSH) programme, and supported by the Economic Planning Unit (EPU), the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MOSTI) and the Malaysian Global Innovation and Creativity Centre (MaGIC). PUSH is a scale-up programme with an ambition to grow social enterprises and increase their social impact through a personalised capacity building and skills development training.
“PUSH helped us to strengthen our business model, our focus and vision. This built up our confidence to move forward as a social enterprise and extend our reach in the future,” said Rudie.
“We have been able to increase our beneficiaries to over 100 adolescents and we now have two centres. We opened a new centre in SK Mentuan. In the future, we hope to expand B-TOP to other states in Malaysia,” he added.
“PUSH also helped us in terms of networking by connecting us to other social enterprises and NGOs, as well as potential supporters and funders,” he said.
How You Can Help
BTOP would like to invite corporations, foundations and members of the public to help out by sponsoring their programmes, sponsoring students to attend the programmes and sponsoring coaches.
To find out more, you can check out their website and social media channels: