One cheer to the world, Paint the World (PTW) organised in 2014 have been bringing smiles to underprivileged children around the world with their games, balloons, and laughter.
Most recently, its Malaysian founder, young Sarawakian philanthropist Aziza Aznizan made her way alongside a team of PTW volunteers to the central America country of Panama.
The seven-day trip from December 17 to 23 last year saw six volunteers from the EU Business School, Barcelona, and an average of 13 volunteers from Panama itself making their way around the country to meet. According to Aziza, the biggest volunteer turnout was in Santiago where more than 15 people helped with cooking.
“Participants are my EU Business School colleagues Rebecca Yee (Panama), Paola Alguilar (Panama), Josselyn Martes (Panama) and Veronika Ivanova (Russia) and myself! The Panamanians hosted Veronika and I in their homes,” said the 22-year-old.
The Panama trip was sponsored by Clinica Yee and Efectimedios Panama. The team also received donations in the form of presents (toys), balloons, shirts, PTW souvenirs, food and drink.
Aziza shared that PTW went to Panama this time as the group have not reached America’s continent yet. “Many countries in South and Latin America needs PTW as the number of underprivileged children is big, and will gradually increase as time passes.”
Furthermore, Aziza also disclosed that there were three Panamanians in the PTW group wanting to spread the love to their own country.
“We saw more than a hundred children! From Panama city to Santiago – there were kids from all over! Panama is very diverse!” Aziza exclaimed.
A little chat between Aziza and New Sarawak Tribune revealed a little more from the heart :
What did you learn/see in this time PTW trip? And how it has impacted you?
What I learned from this trip is that I had enhanced my Spanish skills. Haha. However, truthfully, around the world, regardless of religion, language and culture it all comes down to the same thing, everyone needs love. From Asia to Africa to Europe to Middle East to America, the underprivileged children were all full of smiles, so happy without mobile phones.
So happy with so little. So happy to receive people who want to sing and dance and play with them. I love it. It really motivates me to continue painting the world, to continue this fight for young people to do something even if they don’t see the reason why. Starting from something small in Miri, Sarawak can really lead you to something SO big and its all thanks to passion, love for humanity and the vision to help make a change in the world. I hope to bring my friends from all over the world – who has done PTW in their own hometown back to Sarawak, even as soon as this year (2019) so we can also share our Sarawakian culture, food and smiles.
Most memorable moments?
It was from the first day – the excitement and nervous feelings that I had is what my fellow Panamanian painters would feel what I felt on my first time doing PTW. It was a hassle. We woke up at 6am, went all around the city to pick up shirts, toys, games, food, gathering everyone (with Panamanian timing its REALLY a challenge), and once we FINALLY ARRIVED at the first centre, we were tired, hungry and annoyed at the hot blazing sun. However, it was worth it as soon as the children started screaming and running to us and everything went with the flow. Hearts warmed, smiles exchanged and it was all happy vibes!! I absolutely loved it and I wanted to cry. I looked over to my friends who didn’t want to go when its time to leave – and I saw their faces, which reminded me of my very first PTW almost four years ago.
It was very humid and hot. But the caretakers were SO FRIENDLY and made it a bearable environment. It is of course less luxurious and comfortable than other countries with better economical value but it felt very ‘homely’.
With their slogan, ‘If not us, who? If not now, when?’, learn more about PTW and their journey via social media on Facebook and Instagram @painttheworldmalaysia.
DAY 1 : We visited a centre on the outskirts of Panama where there were 33 children – abused, orphans, each with varied problems. We played games, gave food and presents!
The children were from Guadalupe, Nicaragua, Ghana and Panama. They actually seemed very thankful and disciplined. They were under the Pastor’s care who he adopted them like his own children.
DAY 2: We visited an orphanage in Panama, gave them KFC, played various games with them and then went to Panama America Newspaper HQ for an interview!
Day 3: Five hours road-trip to Santiago – where we gathered more than 100 kids and volunteers to cook, play games with the children and give injections for vaccine. Met with the mayor of Santiago and also the main director of the health department in Santiago.
DAY 4: We visited Embera Wounnan – a native Indian village. Played games with the children and gave them presents! At the same time, we visited the diverse wildlife and waterfalls!
DAY 5: Visited the children’s hospital – Hospital Del Niños. We collaborated with clown doctors and Leo club panama.
DAY 6 and 7: We visited the Panama Canal, bio museum and other tourist locations to get to know the Panamanian history and culture!