Work Practice on Malaysian Soil

17 March 2010

PT Foundation frequently has interns volunteer in a variety of areas within the organization. It is an excellent opportunity for students and recent graduates to develop their potential and explore their talents, while gaining true life experience as well as contributing to a good human cause.

Elli Maanpaa of Finland, joined PT Foundation as graphic design volunteer. Her artwork and designs were featured in many events over the second half of 2009, including all the graphics for World AIDS Day 2009 and Fabulous, the 21st Anniversary Gala Dinner and Show. Elli not only brought PT her amazing artwork, but also filled the office with her smiles every day!

Article copied from "Nuorisoasiain keskus"

For five months Elli Maanpää worked at Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia, sent over by the youth centre. She hit the road during summer 2009 and came back home for Christmas. Volunteer work had been Elli’s interest for a long time and she had her name on various mailing lists until the jackpot hit: Kuala Lumpur quickly needed a volunteer, for the already selected person had to cancel. As there was only a month until take-off, Elli wondered if she really had time to organise everything needed.
- I made a long to-do list and before I noticed I was already sitting in the plane. Somehow I got it all done, Elli laughs.

Aids World Day
One of the best experiences was arranging AIDS WORLD DAY. The graphic design is made by Elli.

Travelling and early morning swimming

Throughout her practice Elli worked at PT Foundation. The organisation works against AIDS and HIV, including teaching, enlightenment and supportive activity. All the travelling expenses, accomodation and food was paid by the European Voluntary Service, so there were literally no expenses for Elli. On the contrary, thanks to the malaysian hospitality Elli felt that she actually saved some money.

Usually work days started around ten in the morning, after Elli had had her daily morning swim. Work itself was intensive and often went on until the late hours of the evening, but on the other hand it was very rewarding and Elli’s duties were formed by what she was good at. As a clothing designer and a graphic artist she got to design for example campaign posters, flyers and t-shirts for different events. During her free time she took part in the Shakespeare-workshop, piloted a drama camp for the young and even travelled, for example to Singapore.

Friendliness and misfortune

The tropical environment, being constantly late, living in a muslim state and the insufficient safety was real culture shock at first, even though Elli had previously lived in Paris and in Buenos Aires. Especially the lack of safety became unfortunately clear for Elli. After being in Kuala Lumpur for a month, she got robbed. Luckily at that point her safety network was large enough to help her get through with just a scare. People were so friendly that Elli immediately felt that she was a part of the community. After what happened those worried and supportive text messages poured in, not only from Finland but from the new Malaysian friends as well.

- I’ve never met as friendly people as in Malaysia! And being robbed was just bad luck – it could’ve happened in Finland too, Elli says about her decision to continue with the practice. The remaining time in Malaysia went well and the thousands of photos tell their own tale about good experiences and memorable moments.

Mooncake Festival
Though her work mates Elli got to experience the native festivities. Here’s the Mooncake-festival.

The Malaysians became a new family

Elli is thankful that she got to live with her work mates Raymond and Hisham. From the first day on she was treated like a family member. She was taken along to family birthdays, got to experience Ramada and the festivities afterwards, and in general just learned a lot about the Malaysian and Chinese-Malaysian culture. Elli likes to call them her ”second family”, and apart from that one misfortunate event she says the volunteer work was an awesome experience.

- It opens your eyes and you learn so much about yourself and the world surrounding you. I also got great samples for my portfolio, useful contacts and friends all over the world.

Elli would love to return to Malaysia.

- Of course I would like to go back. But on the other hand there’s so much more to see and experience in the world, that a whole new place sounds tempting too, she says.

Elli Maanpää
- A totally awesome experience, Elli sums up her time in Malaysia.

To work as an international volunteer?

If you want to work as an international volunteer you can do it through a Finnish organisation. The easiest way is to choose Youth In Action –program, that is funded by the European Voluntary Service. Ranking first are the young volunteers between 18-30 years for 2-12 months, but in some cases 16-17-year-olds are considered too. From the website of the Youth Information Centre Kompassi you can find a comprehensive list of different organisations in need of volunteers. You can also drop by at Kompassi to ask about your chances.


No comments:

Post a Comment