Datuk Dr Paul Chan has overcome the constraints of his circumstances to become a pioneer of private tertiary education for disadvantaged people in Malaysia.
Paul founded the HELP (Higher Education Learning Philosophy) Group that now has more than 12,000 students in four campuses in Malaysia and key strategic partnerships with universities in the UK and is its Vice-Chancellor and President.
While studying for his PhD at ANU, Paul was greatly influenced by the idea of justice and equality and the right to education. In 1986, he set up HELP Group with the aim of helping people succeed in life and to live a life of significance through education.
During the past 30 years, HELP has grown into an internationally-recognised provider of education, from early childhood to tertiary education.
HELP has achieved stellar academic outcomes and graduates have won scholarships for postgraduate studies at ANU, Cambridge, Harvard and the London School of Economics. HELP raises about US$9 million in bursaries and scholarships to train talented young students.
Paul was President of the ANU Malaysia Alumni Association for many years, and recently became patron of the network. He continually promotes ANU to Malaysian students and was Chair of the Malaysian Alumni Scholarship Committee, which awarded scholarships to study at ANU.
Throughout HELP's rise, Paul has kept it close to his roots, helping those most in need. HELP contributed significant financial assistance during the recovery after the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami and even gave $200,000 to students impacted by the 2011 Brisbane floods.
Each year, HELP works with the United Nations' refugee agency UNHCR to select a few hundred refugees from the 150,000 refugees in Malaysia. The chosen few study English, plus a set of key skills.