February 07, 2009

 UNIMAS Kick off Pangaea in Malaysia

MalaysiaFtrainng_20090204.jpg What a day! Children started to gather around 8:30 AM at UNIMAS campus. 23 children between age 9-15 gathered with such enthusiasm. Of course, they were bit nervous not knowing exactly what this program is about, but with big Circle, they were all very nice children. Facilitators and Tech Fs were all very good although it was their first experiences. Teachers from school where children attend came to observe, so did university professors. This place is so special as many ethnic groups participated in one location. So the village is like Pangaea. Some appeared to be shy at the beginning, but after Tako Introduction, ice melted, and they were very eager to introduce their partners.

I am sure you can see how the day went as you look at the photo. Now they want to get to know children in different location. This location will serve as the facilitator training core for Malaysia, and plans to open another location in Bario, deep in Borneo jungle. I was very glad that program worked perfectly with this diversed group, and also Fs and TFs all found paritipations as volunteers was newly discovered joy. We all promised each other to meet again at Webcam Activity planned in June. I will leave here after Monday follow up meeting, but I will miss UNIMAS and Sarawak as I find Sarawak Laksa is amazingly delicious, and people here is very friendly and nice.

Posted by: yumi | 8. General | Permalink

February 06, 2009

 Feb 2009 Newsletter: Yumi's Monthly Note

Time Flies! January has gone; February has come.

I am leaving for Malaysia on Feb. 2. Because the first Pangaea Activity at Universiti Malaysia Sarawak(UNIMAS) will take place on Feb. 7, the Pangaea Facilitator Training Session is scheduled on Feb. 4. UNIMAS has already played central role in the e-Bario Project, enabling our children to interact with kids living in remote villages on Borneo Island. In order to confluent the Pangaea Project with the e-Bario Project, we need to open a multi-functional activity site at UNIMAS. To accomplish the objective, I intend to provide extremely intensive and comprehensive training sessions during my stay in Malaysia.

In very early January, I had a business trip to Hokkaido, the north island of Japan. I visited Hokkaido University Hospital and talked with a school teacher who has been running the distance education program for inpatient children. I personally believe that a person who has an infectious passion is capable of starting a project no matter what obstacles he/she faces. During the meeting with the school teacher, I learned that he was such an inspiring person; I was totally captivated by his enthusiasm. If possible, I'd like to work with him to reach out to more children.

We handed out the 2009 Pangaea Calendar to our children at our activity sites. This project has been supported by UBS "Kids in the Arts" Grant Program. The children who have been receiving inpatient treatment at Kyoto University Hospital had joined the project. To create the CD sized desk calendar, kids had drawn pictures for each month of the year, and we, Pangaea staffers, had completed design and layout for the calendar. Every kid exclaimed as he/she found his/her drawing featured in the calendar.

The financial support we have been receiving from UBS will continue through 2009. We deeply appreciate UBS's decision. Last year, we recognized some issues related to the hospitalized children. This year, we are willing to work on one of the difficulties the inpatient children have been confronting- children are more likely to suffer from isolation and/or loneliness after discharge from the hospital. To solve the problem, we are planning to design an individualized program, based on the physical conditions and living environment of each child. Because we want the program to become fully operational, we will carry out the ongoing program evaluation.

This is a big announcement: We hit the jackpot! Well, I mean... Pangaea won the grant that was like hitting the jackpot. We were awarded the grant from the SEEDCap Japan (Social Entrepreneur Enhanced Development Capital Japan) run by the Japan Center for International Exchange. In 2008, the grant was given only to Pangaea, for Pangaea has committed to working with children at the global level. It will be a tremendous help for us to develop the e-Training system which we desperately need to operate the Pangaea Project efficiently.

What I know for sure is that the seeds which Pangaea had planted have started coming up. So enjoy watching our plants grow, my friends!

This month, I'd like to introduce Ms. Naomi as a Pangaea Ring writer. She is an Assistant Language Teacher in Mie and has been working with us as a facilitator. She has a lovely smile and is a joy to work with.

Have a Happy February!


Posted by: kumakinoko | 3. Newsletter | Permalink

 Feb 2009 Newsletter: Pangaea ring - Ms. Naomi Dylan

This month, I'd like to introduce Ms. Naomi as a Pangaea Ring writer. She is an Assistant Language Teacher in Mie and has been working with us as a facilitator. She has a lovely smile and is a joy to work with.

Hello Everyone, My name is Naomi Rachel Dylan and I have been involved with Pangaea for the past two years.
Pangaea is a non-profit organization that aims to bridge children from various countries and cultures to communicate with one another by sharing their hopes, dreams and artwork through the internet.

As a Canadian who has come to Japan to teach English to Japanese students, Pangaea has given me a special oppurtuntiy to meet with many imaginative and intelligent children from Pangaea's Mie Ken location. I watch the children eagerly read messages they recieve from other children who do not share the same language but who have learn to communication from their heart through art, animation and messages describing their feelings with the use of pictographs instead of it words.

Pangaea is an important organization. It is important because it provides children with a place and the means to communicate with one another, it allows children to see children from other countries, not as foreigners living in distant lands, but as friends who share the same hopes and dreams. It teaches them that language is merely a barrier but with determination and imagination, communication is always possible. It is my hope that more countries around the world open Pangea locations, so that we can all benefit from learning from these young people who share their visions of a beautiful world online. Maybe if we are lucky, we can all learn to communicate as they have begun.

Naomi Dylan
ALT(Assistant Language Teacher), Tsu city, Mie prefecture

Posted by: kumakinoko | 3. Newsletter , 4. Pangaea Ring | Permalink

February 04, 2009

 The Pangaea Project Debuts in Malaysia: The Pangaea Facilitator Training Session at Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (UNIMAS)

MalaysiaFtrainng_20090204.jpg I’ve been in Malaysia and very busy preparing for the Pangaea Activity taking place at UNIMAS on Feb. 7. Today, we had the Pangaea Facilitator Training Session, which set a new record for the number of participants: Surprisingly, we had 39 attendees! Actually we had not expected to have such a good turnout; our underestimation caused a nightmare – our training materials and handouts ran out. Plus, our training session is extremely practical and interactive so that having a large group can be challenging. That’s why I was a nervous wreck before the training session started. However, thank God, everything went well and I could enjoy the training session. During the training session, we did the hands-on activity, “Tako Introduction” – each pair introduces one another to the group. Because we had a multi-cultural group, including Chinese, Muslims, and people from remote villages in Borneo, the activity was spiced up with the cultural diversity. From the activity, I found a universal trait among college students: they are more likely to prefer music, dance, and/or reading to manage their stress in schools, regardless of cultural differences.

Anyway, we now have 39 facilitators, possibly divided into two groups, to work with us at the UNIMAS activity site. Talking about participants, we got 25 children (the maximum) very quickly. I am very glad that we’ve got a “Full House” at the UNIMAS activity site. I am already excited about the Webcam Activity which will be held at the UNINAS activity site within 6 months or so.

Mr. Inoue and Iwata from the Telecommunication Technology Committee, who gave me the opportunity to launch the Pangaea Project in Malaysia, will be here on Feb. 7 to be eyewitnesses of our historic event. Yup, I am off to a good start in Malaysia!

Posted by: yumi | 8. General | Permalink