The PTW team in Zanzibar after a discussion with the deputy Minister of Education.

Eradicating poverty through education

The Paint The World (PTW) Malaysia trips to Africa and Bangladesh in December 2019 were held to promote tourism in Sarawak/Malaysia, to unite the youth of all countries, to conduct PTW activities, and to build diplomatic relations between Malaysia and the respective countries. 

The participants during their trip in Bangladesh.

Aniza Aznizan, the 24-year-old co-founder of PTW, disclosed that PTW now have a bigger mission to not only unite through charitable causes, but also through education. “We are moving forward in our mission to eradicate poverty through education. We are proposing to foreign governments from third world countries to fund their local students from low-income backgrounds to study in Malaysia by 2021.”

PTW Malaysia first trip

Their first trip consisting of six PTW members was on December 16 to 27 where the team travels from Kuala Lumpur to Muscat, Zanzibar, Dar Es Salaam, Nairobi, Masai Mara, Zanzibar, Muscat and back to Kuala Lumpur.

She explained that the African cultural, regardless of the rich or poor, would constantly immerse themselves into the music and dance to it. Even when visiting the orphanage, Aziza and her team were greeted via acapella style.

Aziza (centre) with Zanzibar’s Deputy Minister of Education and Aunty Aida, Head of Scholarship Schemes for sending Tanzanian students to study overseas.

Aziza admitted that she picked up a variety of dance moves, all while visiting the countries in Africa. “It doesn’t matter where you are, you will wake up to your hosts dancing, you would go by your day with even more dancing and even dance yourself to sleep,” she said. She also added that by the end of the trip, they managed to memorised top hits of the African radio music and their dance movements.

“We learned that happiness comes in many forms and that was the best lesson ever. The people had almost nothing, yet they were so joyful, so loud and happy.” According to the bubbly lady, Kenya and Tanzania were less developed compared to Malaysia, “but their citizens were 1,000 percent more outgoing than the typical Malaysian.”

She thanked their main host Salum Omar Mahita — a friend she met in Zanzibar earlier in May 2019. “When we met, he loved the idea of PTW and we stayed in touch and organised this project together.” She believes that friendships like this helped create an opportunity for life-changing projects to bring the world together.

PTW Malaysia second trip

Participants with orphans in the outskirts of Bangladesh.

On the other hand, their trip to Bangladesh was a change of sight, with the need to always be constantly aware of motorist accidents and air pollution. “Survival skills are needed on how to cross the road without getting hit by a tuk-tuk, car, motorcycle, bicycle, tricycle horse carriage and others. Danger is always lurking around the corner, in this case, the road,” Aziza added.

Members of PTW dressed in Sarawak’s traditional costume during their second trip to Dhaka.

Attended by 10 participants, the group flew from Kuala Lumpur to Dhaka and then Chittagong and back from December 29 to January 3. Apart from discussing and promoting Malaysia as an educational hub, the team also did the usual PTW activities such as organising visits to orphanages and spent the New Year’s Eve with the locals. Azizah also revealed that they also attended a wedding, and learned that “Bangladeshi’s wedding can be extravagant!”

During their time there, they were met with a mishap when one of the members was injured by a metal rod poking out from the street. “We had to find a pharmacy that offered injections to prevent infection and it was a frightening experience for us.”

PTW — A platform for unity

Always emphasising on unity in diversity through youths, Aziza opined that since going to another country is just a click of a button, “It is ignorant to not work towards building a collaborative society.”

As a firm believer of uniting the youth from different countries, Aziza said that the youth have the power to change the world through collaborations and diplomatic relations, “10 years ago this opportunity did not exist, but now we can even start from a young age.”

“Unity is important because it is what motivates us to become better people in a way that we learn new things every day which is really a humbling experience. We also learn accept differences easier and are more adaptable in different situations that we will face in the future.”

Aziza also mentioned that uniting people of different races can bring more good than bad, “and it is something worth fighting for.”

A PTW member with an orphan at an orphanage in Zanzibar.

She thanked Abdul Karim for his constant support, and as an ‘Ikon Belia Sarawak 2019’, Aziza is extremely proud to be able to represent the state and the country on international levels for now and in the future.

Focusing on unity for education in 2020, PTW international concert this year will be held at the old Kuching’s State Assembly (DUN) building on February 15 starting at 2.30 pm.

With the theme ‘fantASIA’, PTW has invited the co-founder of PTW Lika Torikashvili —  the Youth Ambassador of Georgia to United Nations — to share her inspiring stories. Other guest speakers are Shazia and Kainat, best friends of Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai who stood by her to fight for women’s right to education in Pakistan and was shot in the head in an attempted murder by the Taliban.