Through sunny days and typhoons, the Group 4 of eMpowering Youths Across ASEAN: Cohort Two programme collaborated with Ecofun Indonesia to implement the Creative Economy Education Through Game-Based Learning (CREATEONME) project. Hop along the journey of this group of youth volunteers by reading their story below!
Please tell us a little bit about your group and its primary objectives!
Hailing from the Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand, and Lao PDR, we came together as "Group 4" under the eMpowering Youths Across ASEAN programme in Fall 2021.
Under the guidance of Ecofun Indonesia, from our rooms and through countless late-night virtual meetings, we hatched Project SEAD. Its primary objectives? To enhance our participants' self-advocacy capabilities and their cross-cultural sensitivity. To cultivate an appreciation for a collective ASEAN identity.
Why do all of you decide to become part of the volunteering project?
We wanted to connect with people and create meaningful impacts, and volunteering was a bridge that connected us to the greater ASEAN region. We discovered the eMpowering Youths Across ASEAN programme on social media and kept our fingers crossed, hoping to become chosen from the sea of applicants. All of this waiting and hoping for the opportunity to contribute to the ASEAN mission.
We were eager to delve deeper into the cultural ties and socio-economic challenges that bind us together. Although physically separated by a global pandemic, our zest for volunteerism kept us driven towards helping our beneficiaries in Bogor, Indonesia, find their voices in advocacy.
The volunteering project was done remotely. Can all of you please share the challenges you faced while working on the volunteering project?
From the get-go, we were lost in a rapidly changing world with many challenges ahead of us. How were we to connect with our Indonesian participants? Do we have enough time? Will our ideas work?
Along with effective communication, cultivating an understanding of our respective capabilities and needs kept us together. For six months, we juggled work schedules and studies with Project SEAD. Like a troop of tightrope walkers, we tried to balance the needs of our participants, partner CSO, and each other.
Some of us saw sunny days and cold weather with cups of tea. Some of us struggled with typhoons and frustrating internet issues. Some of us pondered what was to come once their studies finished. Altogether, we took comfort in each other's daily successes and learned so much during our time as a team. From national COVID-19 vaccine rollouts to food options in our respective countries, it was such an eye-opening experience. The weekly meetings, project activities, reports, laughs, and group screenshots flew by fast, with the last day of project implementation catching all of us unaware.
Let’s wrap up this journey by sharing your key takeaways from the volunteering project!
In retrospect to the challenges we faced, a bittersweet feeling now lingers. The time we spent with our participants, teams, and sponsors will eventually become a warm memory. We count ourselves lucky to receive such immense support. Annisa, Andy, Devi, and Bibil; these were the people that comprised the Ecofun Indonesia team that was there when we strayed off the path. Ecofun Indonesia allowed us to work closely with their CREATONME project, which introduced us to the world of game-based learning. Through Ecofun Indonesia, we met Imeh, our onsite volunteer and a pillar of the team.
We are delighted to see how our efforts have impacted our participants, how we bonded as a team, and how we have grown as individuals. The global pandemic and its lingering effects have shown us that everything is uncertain. That said, we can be certain that these experiences will light our way forward.
Edited by: Adinda Widya Pasugitaningtiyas, Communications Intern