Part of the work of ASPIRE Penang is support for community leadership.
This has involved the patient identification and work with women, men and teenagers from different locations in Penang to bring them together to share experiences, ideas for hope and change and to identify common advocacy positions.
We now have active women's, youth and men's teams engaged in discussion, activities, and designing and delivering talks and other initiatives on a variety of issues.
The Penang Refugee Network brings together refugee leaders from various locations in Penang; some 20 of these leaders attend meetings to plan next steps and we have an outreach to over 40 such leaders. This is extremely valuable in times like COVID, for quickly identifying and reaching refugee families and individuals who are in special need of help.
Refugee members also participate in the discussion of the Penang Refugee Advocacy network, supported by MSF.
As described elsewhere, we also run a number of activities like the football project, computer and language classes, and workshops on different topics. We try to make the most of opportunities presented by initiatives like these to directly involve participants in learning how to manage such projects for themselves.
This involves training and on-going support which cover such topics as financial management, project planning and leadership roles. This is often completely new to participants and very exciting! It is part of our long-term vision of a more confident, resilient, aware community fully able to decide things for themselves.
The development of the Penang Working Group is also a crucial part of our long-term strategy. This Group brings together refugees with local NGOs and others working with refugees, as well as UNHCR representatives for information exchange, sharing of ideas and agreement of common goals and advocacy positions.
We are very thankful to our many donors whose support allows us to pursue all this. Thanks in particular to all our individual donors, to Entrust for supporting leadership trainings, to the Freedom Fund for supporting our team, to Global Initiatives Resilience Fund, to L'Oreal Fund for Women, and to Partners in Asia.
One of the many community meetings, full of ideas and plans!
Community talk organised by the men's group