Youth volunteers under the Group 8 of eMpowering Youths Across ASEAN (EYAA): Cohort Two collaborate with Persatuan Kakiseni in Malaysia to raise awareness of the importance of arts education in youth development. Through SeniKidz programme, they aspire to cultivate children's creativity and ability to express themselves through wayang puppet theatre!
As mentioned by the famous poet, Dana Gioia, "The purpose of arts education is not to produce more artists, though that is a by-product. The real purpose is to create complete human beings capable of leading successful and productive lives in a free society".
Please tell us more about the SeniKidz programme!
In this project with Persatuan Kakiseni in Malaysia, we had the chance to virtually meet the lovely and amazing children of SeniKidz programme who will hopefully take part in increasing the quality of education for the future generation. The 8-week virtual programme which had been designed carefully involved them in practical learning about the wayang puppet, cybersecurity and other ASEAN Cultural Sharing sessions.
Sounds exciting! Since this programme was held during COVID-19, can you tell us how you managed the work virtually?
We had been allowed to find an extraordinary team of youth from this programme. Our team prioritised communication and teamwork values, which we believe as the way to succeed in the project together. Every Wednesday night during those weeks, we prepared to attend the live learning sessions with the children as well as their parents and teachers. Teacher Amelia and Jinnie were also present and helped manage the sessions to be engaging and amusing.
Any challenges you guys had to face during the implementation of the project?
Maintaining the good engagement of the weekly live sessions got a bit more challenging because it had to always be done during the night when some children had already been prepared to rest after school and other activities. Some of them even tried to interrupt the session by drawing doodles or scribbling on the presentation screen. “I do not want to study anymore, I am so tired right now,” said one of the students, Ali. Teacher Amelia replied, “Are you tired, Ali? Do not worry. We will finish the session soon, and after that you will get to sleep.”
Weeks later, more children were reluctant to open their videos in the Zoom meeting during the weekly live sessions. This caused our team to notice the problem and pointed it out during discussion. Moreover, another issue regarding the internet connection was raised. There were not a few children turning off their videos, and some others could not even attend several sessions due to the issues. Nevertheless, these issues had been anticipated since the beginning of the project.
Things could get tedious. Adults could get bored, let alone children. Paying more attention to the children was definitely necessary, especially when they were only virtually present. Therefore, even a small thing like calling each of their names could be a truly nice move, so that they would know they were being personally recognized and cared about.
Sounds like a very challenging yet fun project! To wrap up, please tell us how did the project end?
The project ended with a final showcase which featured all of the video performances of the children and we are really grateful to meet and work with the Persatuan Kakiseni team, volunteers, teachers, and the children. Our team will surely treasure the memories and lessons we had with them.
Edited by: Adinda Widya Pasugitaningtiyas, Communications Intern