About this segment: Person of the Month is an initiative by University of Malaya Law Review which aims to feature a prominent member of the University of Malaya's Law Faculty towards the end of each month. The purpose of this segment is twofold. Firstly, to give due recognition to the contributions of our student leaders and secondly, so that their achievements might inspire other members of the faculty towards greater successes.
Ameera Ratha, in the hallways of University of Malaya Law Faculty
Ameera Ratha was the President of the UM Lawfac Islamic Students’ Association (LISA) for the academic year of 2015/16. Apart from that, Ameera has also been the class representative of her batch (42nd batch of UM law students) since her second year in the faculty, for three years in a row.
LISA was established in 2013 and was initially known as Balai Islam which was responsible for the law faculty’s surau. It was eventually rebranded to LISA and sought to expand its activities which included organising events such as Solat Hajat and participating in charitable causes by hosting initiatives such as ‘Bantuan Kemanusiaan’, an event conducted to raise donations and collect supplies for flood victims in Kelantan.
When she took over the mantle of leadership in 2015 as LISA’s third president, it was still relatively new. Ameera and her dedicated committee took the brave initiative to promote LISA even outside the faculty by expanding the scope of LISA’s activities and organised events such as Hijabify, Hijabify 2.0, Jelajah Motivasi and UM for Unity.
As Ameera’s vision was to promote understanding and unity among students in the faculty, many of those activities were not exclusive to Muslims but actively sought the participation of non-Muslims.
Hijabify was a program done spread awareness of why Muslim women chose to wear the hijab among non-Muslims to foster a culture of tolerance
For example, Hijabify was a program done specifically to spread awareness of why Muslim women chose to wear the hijab. Through this event, non-Muslim students were encouraged to wear the hijab and to share their experience. This initiative was well received by the students in the faculty and the positive feedback encouraged LISA to then organize a talk called Hijabify 2.0, the underlying notion of which was the empowerment of women and to spread the idea that no matter what religion a woman practices or what kind of clothes she wears, at the end of the day, all women must stand together in the fight against discrimination and inequality.
Hijabify, an event intended to foster understanding and the spirit of unity, was well received by students of all races within the faculty
Furthermore, Ameera was also passionate at using LISA as a platform for students in the faculty to open up about their problems by hosting events such as UM for Unity which was held to address issues on the the separation of batches within the faculty. It was a heart-to-heart session with just the ladies of the Faculty to share their worries, opinions and insights on what could be done to strengthen the bond among students of the faculty regardless of their academic year.
On the challenges of heading LISA, Ameera lamented that; “people are skeptical of LISA as it has the word 'Islamic' in it, to the point where even recruiting new members becomes difficult.” However, Ameera wishes for people to know that the activities organised by LISA are not catered for Muslims only but are open to all students in order to promote respect for all believers and foster understanding about the different religions practised in the faculty.
Ameera mentions that apart from promoting unity, she also made sure that during her tenure, LISA holds true to its name to spread awareness about the beauty of Islam. LISA promotes a healthy lifestyle of having a dignified way of life and thinking. LISA also reminds its club members that subscribing to religion is to form a relationship with God and God alone and that one should not be affected by the judgment of others for that personal relationship. “LISA opened my eyes to be more critical when discussing religion”, Ameera says.
Ameera sat on the panel with Puan Nazida Nazrie (writer and part-time law lecturer) and Aliza Kim (public figure) during the Hijabify 2.0 Event held at the Faculty of Law, University Malaya.
A passionate and hardworking law student, Ameera truthfully tells us that some of her biggest challenges as a class representative are time management and patience as she always has to reach a compromise and make a collective decision on behalf of the best interest of the class. Despite having to cut down on lunch and dinner dates with her girlfriends due to her busy schedule, Ameera regrets nothing as she has always welcomed the challenge.
Ameera feels that her experiences contributing to the faculty have helped her grow stronger as a person, to feel more confident and improve her socialising skills. If Ameera could go back in time and be not the busy bee she currently is, she wishes she could have started to date someone earlier. Jokes aside, Ameera believes that everything happens for a reason and she feels blessed being given the opportunity to serve her fellow batch mates and the faculty.
Although tiring, Ameera feels blessed for the opportunity to serve her fellow batchmates and the faculty as a class representative
At the end of the day, Ameera is very grateful for the people around her, from her amazing, most wonderful batchmates (Dahsyat), her lecturers, her supportive friends, especially Adreena Patri, Nur Khairiza, Yasmin Maisarah and Nur Farhana who have been by her side through thick and thin, to her parents and brothers, who have never stopped encouraging her to move forward and do great things.
Last but not least, Ameera would also like to extend her gratitude to all LISA 2015/16 committee members who served under her for helping her in handling all the projects and carrying them out to great success. She also wishes those who remained on the new board all the best in their endeavors and hopes that the club will soar upwards with capable leadership and skilled management.
Ameera with her committee for University of Malaya Lawfac Islamic Students' Association 2015/16