Annisa: My Trip with the HANDs! Project (Part 1 – The Philippines)
I remember sitting by the window of an airplane, counting down the moment when I had to say goodbye to my new friends after our last trip together. From Central Kalimantan, the airplane took us to Jakarta for transit before we finally headed back home. As soon as we landed, I saw those familiar faces who had been with me in this amazing trip for the past weeks. My next flight would take me to my second home, Bali, while the others continued their trip to their home countries. We’ll surely meet again after this to finally implement our action plan that we made during the program.
Hi! My name is Annisa, TRI’s Development Manager. You might see me on some TRI’s instagram posts 😉 And this is my story from my experience in the HANDs! Project with Japan Foundation. My journey started back in March 2017 when I joined a startup competition for social enterprise, Global Hackathon, hosted by UN Influx in Ubud, Bali. As the representative from TRI, I brought TRI’s idea to compete with other social enterprises that came from many different countries. The result was shocked me! TRI was selected as The Most Favorite Project. Japan Foundation also chose me as The Best Local Participant. With that title, I got a direct access to be a finalist for the HANDs! Project.
What is ‘HANDs! Project’?
HANDs! or Hopes and Dreams is a human resource development program sponsored by the Japan Foundation Asia Center. It brings together creative individuals from different Asian countries to learn about disaster education, environmental issues, and post-disaster recovery. The goal of the program on 2017/2018 is to produce disaster and environmental education programs communities through art and creative activities. For this batch, HANDs! chose 27 youths (including me!) from 9 countries in Asia: Japan, India, Nepal, Philippine, Thailand, Cambodia, Myanmar, Malaysia, and Indonesia. HANDs!’s mission was to bring all of participants to 3 countries; Philippine, Japan, and Indonesia to learn about disaster and environment as reference for the project that we would run after the trip with the funding from Japan Foundation. In this trip, we were guided by the professional advisors from different expertise and background.
All of the participants were diverse and unique. There are architect, doctor, environmentalist, farmer, academics, teacher, volunteer, social entrepreneur, film producer, and many others among the group with various personality. They inspired me with their own culture and professional experience. I was really amazed and grateful to meet them.
Philippine Trip (8-13th October 2017)
Let’s start the story from our first destination country! The Philippines! We stayed in the Philippine High School of Arts (PHSA) for 5 days from 8 to 13 October 2017. It is located in Mount Makiling area, one of an active volcano in the Philippines.
Throughout the sharing sessions, Nagata-san, the Chairman of Plus Arts (NGO), explained a lot about his theory of “wind–water–soil”. This theory told us the important roles of each element in a sustainability of a project or a program. He showed some of his works with Plus Arts to raise awareness and educate people more about disaster. These products are not only adorable, but also has a functionality in the design.
They taught us the whole process in detail, so that at the end we could develop our prototype. We were divided into groups of 3 people and 5 PHSA Students. Our task was to make a sustainable program in order to solve problems in the school. We started the task by doing an observation and some interviews, so that we were able to identify the problems. After that, we had a brainstorming session and idea validation. My team came up with an idea to make an annual event called “Makiling Art-wareness Festival”. This event aimed to raise the Makiling citizens’ awareness about disaster, specifically in preparation if the Mount Makiling has an volcanic eruption. Most of the community surprisingly had minimum knowledge in disaster prevention and safety procedure about that. It could be presented in a fun and creative way through arts, such as a theater act or a dance performance.
In the last day of the workshop, every team had to showcase their prototype. We were teamed up with 5 brilliant students of Music Major and most of them were in Vocal department, so the prototype that we made was a song that taught the people to love their environment in order to prevent disaster. So exciting!
I learned a lot about design thinking and human centered design, especially on how to see the real problem and how to create the most effective and sustainable solution for everyone. For me, life will be more meaningful if I can help other people. One of the many ways I can do is to find a solution for the problems we face in the world. This experience has given me more insights on how to do it effectively and strategically.
Phew! The journey was so exhausting as we had a tight schedule to process all of the information. But it was indeed worth the experience and the fun. It was so hard to say goodbye to my new friends from the PHSA students. They were a bunch of amazing and creative youth and their positive energy had influenced us all during our time in the Philippine. I am pretty sure when they can be great artists someday.
The trip didn’t end here. Now off we go to Japan! See you on the next part of the blog 🙂