Working in a very diverse team with other exchange participants from Egypt, England, China and Nepal, I learned a lot about different cultures. We shared our experiences, our ideas and our interests. I achieved one of my goals by knowing them, which is to get friends from different parts of the world. Not only them, I became close with the Local Committee of AIESEC in Sunway as they were all very welcoming. I still remember when I was first invited to attend their gathering. Since then, all of us have become very close to each other, I personally feel like we have found my second family.
This project also involves people from different organizations which deal with related issues. We have; Yasmin from Social Enterprise #BetterCities, Jinn from Friends of Kota Damansara and Chris from the Staff Associations of UNDP. I feel very lucky to be a part of this project and to work along with other organizations beside AIESEC itself.
Before we start our engagement we first had a facilitator training workshop conducted by Pik Svonn and Fahmi from Chow Kit Kita. In this workshop I learned a lot about the difference of a teacher and a facilitator, about creating lesson plans and about how urban mapping works. After the workshop we improved a lot in planning of each engagement, we have a more structured lesson plan and we also did a pilot for each engagement.
We had 6 engagements with the children, mostly of age 8-12, conducted every weekend at the PPR of Kota Damansara. We came up with the name “FOOD NINJA” and banana ninja as our icon for the soft launch. This was done to attract the kids and also it’s easier to memorize. We successfully attract the children during our soft launch and made them colored our banner. That was when I realized this project will be a lot of fun. Then, the FOOD NINJA officially begin. We had struggle a lot to make each activity fun for the kids, also deal with issues like racial tensions.
All the children were always excited with the activity we had, moreover they enjoyed it. MyPlate system was one of the things that we tried to implement to the children. We played a lot of games as well as a lot of coloring. I enjoy each of the process very much and I learn along with the children about healthy eating. We also have Sharen, a nutritionist, who joined us from our 4th engagement and did a talk about healthy eating with the parents on the 6th engagement.
Not forgetting what this project is about, which is urban mapping, we tried to do a map along with the children on one of our engagement. We take the children out on the field and called it as ‘THE NINJA EXPEDITION’. We went group by group to food stalls just in front of the PPR to collect data of which stall is the most favorite, what kind of snacks the kids usually buy, and what are the healthy alternatives of the unhealthy snacks that can be found. It was our very first outdoor activity with the children and I was very excited. All of us did a 3D Map of the PPR afterwards with some help of cardboards and small flags to mark each of the things we found in which stalls.
I love working with children, they are just so adorable. I have a lot of fun doing all the engagement and playing along with them. It’s quite hard to believe 6 weeks pass by so quickly when you enjoy your work so much. This is the greatest experience I’ve had until now. All this will not be successfully done without the contribution made by each of us. I would especially thank the OC of THUMP, without them all these would be impossible.