By Archana Patrick
To many people, Teng Yu Mein, 46, may very well be just a regular housewife and mother of a teenager. However, to Orang Asli villagers in Kampung Simpai, Negeri Sembilan, she is more than just a familiar face – read on to find out why.
Three years ago, Klang-born Yu Mein volunteered her time at Kampung Simpai and the poor quality of water in the area immediately caught her attention. The water consumed by the Orang Asli villagers was literally murky and unsuitable for human consumption.
It was the villagers’ state of helplessness that sparked her interest to find a solution to provide clean water to end their woes as they could not afford expensive water filtration systems.
While mulling over ideas to solve the problem, Yu Mein reached out to her husband, an inventor, for advice. He in turn encouraged her to address the root cause of the problem that she later identified to be low water pressure.
However, her Eureka moment came in the form of squeezing a spray bottle while ironing!
“I realised that the simple pumping motion could create enough pressure to run murky water through a filter,” she told The Star Online recently.
What ensued were several rounds of drawings that finally lead to the prototype of her invention – Efinity EZ Water Filter cap – an affordable pressure cap that could fit the opening of a 1.5-litre bottle; an amazing feat for an SPM certificate holder who has never invented anything!
Upon winning the award from Yayasan Innovasi Malaysia MaGRis (Mainstreaming Grassroots Innovations), which carried a grant of RM30,000, Yu Mein proceeded to produce a working model.
Her first batch of invention was eventually produced in a factory in Klang with a mere cost of RM99.
The affordable and user-friendly Efinity EZ Water Filter cap which produces up to three litres of clean water in one minute has since benefited many marginalised communities in Malaysia such as the Orang Asli community in Kampung Simpai and rural folks in Gombak, Tapah, Bidor and Mantin.
It comes as no surprise that Yu Mein’s invention has won her several local accolades such as the National Innovation Award from the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation in 2016.
Last year, she was one of the recipients of The Star Golden Hearts Award 2018 for her invaluable contribution of providing access to clean water to marginalised communities.
Launched in 2014, The Star Golden Hearts Award celebrates the dedication and contribution of ordinary Malaysians that benefits the community at large regardless of race or religion.
To date, Yu Mein’s Efinity EZ Water Filter cap has crossed borders to benefit other rural communities in Asia Pacific, namely, Cambodia, Bangladesh and more recently, flood victims in Sri Lanka.
The ‘smiles on the Orang Asli faces for first time they were seeing clean, filtered water’ continues to spur Yu Mein’s passion to make further improvements to her invention.
As to her future plans, she humbly responded: “I don’t consider myself a woman of science but finding solutions to problems that could change people’s lives for the better is what drives me, and I hope to be able to do much more”.
Kudos to Teng Yu Mein! Her compassion to help the needy is truly inspiring.