DOHA: Nineteen student and faculty volunteers from Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar (VCU-Q) are in Indonesia for a volunteer trip to the SMK N1 Rota Bayat school in the Klaten District of Jogjakarta in Java.
Sponsored by Vodafone Qatar, the trip was organised by Reach Out To Asia (Rota) in partnership with its in-country partner the Titian Foundation for the fourth year.
The volunteers concluded their week-long series of skills development workshops that covered topics such as training in Photoshop, fashion drawing, screen printing and jewellery making. Each session was planned by the VCU-Q volunteers and delivered to a class of around 35 First Year students from the Rota Bayat School.
The volunteers also worked with a local Rota-supported Titian Foundation programme called ‘Indoartamiks’ to deliver community based workshops and activities increasing the impact of the trip and offering volunteers a chance to develop new skills. In fact, the ‘Indoartamiks’ programme was developed as an outcome of the joint Rota/VCU-Q 2011 Volunteer trip to Indonesia and was launched by the Titian Foundation to build the capacity of youth of the local community through workshops and artistic expression.
The volunteer-led skills development workshops delivered during the 2011-13 trips were so well received that the annual Rota/VCU-Q Volunteer Trip has now become an integrated component of the school’s academic programme.
“The Indonesia 2014 joint Rota/VCU-Q Volunteer Trip is a perfect example of service learning. By putting the emphasis on volunteers transferring real skills that they themselves have learnt in their studies has long term benefits for both them and the local student beneficiaries.
“This approach is particularly effective in ensuring cross-cultural understanding and interpersonal communication as well as increasing self-awareness”, said Rota Acting Executive Director Mohamed Jassem Al Naama.
“Over the years, we’ve seen ourselves the positive impact that this trip has on both local students here in the Bayat community as well as our own students in Qatar,” said Sandra Wilkins, Chair of VCU-Q’s Department of Fashion. “This Rota/VCU-Q initiative brings students from Qatar and Indonesia together to learn from each other and broaden their respective horizons through artistically creative means”.