THUMP Final Engagement : Farewells and a Mini Graduation Ceremony

On Sunday the 24th of August we had our last Food Ninja engagement day with the kids of PPR Kota Damansara. With heavy hearts we tried to make it a memorable day for the children and to leave them with a strong positive message. We have learned so much about one another over the several weekends, information and understanding that can hopefully be put to good use for any other interested group of people who wish to pursue similar activities in this particular PPR.

We had invited the children’s parents to attend the second half of this final engagement to attend the mini graduation ceremony. Prior to their arrival, we started the day with the usual “Go Bananas!”, a fond war cry loved by both the children and the volunteers.

Everyone’s favourite “Go Bananas!”

We continued with the workshop completion activity. For each engagement we gave out different exercise sheets for the children to reflect on at home, we wanted to make sure each of the children had a complete workbook that they could keep with them. We gave out hard cover pages and material so they could decorate and personalize each of their workbooks.


Workbook completion

Next up we had the fruit art activity to create art using fruit meant for the parents. We found that fruit art is also a great way to get kids excited about eating fruits. We prepared the fruits before-hand and allowed the children to pick as many different fruits as they wanted in their groups for their design. The design was a group effort and it got the children to design something together for their parents.

Fruit Art

We had a quick snack after this and waited for the parents to arrive. As most of the children are a family of five or over, it was understandable that most parents were tied up with all manner of things on a Sunday morning, we were lucky to get four parents and guardians to make it and be present for the event. A few of the children were cousins or shared a guardian and so those who attended represented more than one child each. After presenting their fruit art it didn’t take the children long at all to devour the fruit!

Fruit Art Presentation

The graduation ceremony began at around 11am. We started with a short presentation by Chris from the UNDP to explain the motive behind the project to the children and adults. Next, Charmaine from AIESEC Sunway gave a brief introduction on AIESEC and then Will from AIESEC UK gave an introduction of the five international EP’s. The interns prepared a short video montage of the project which we all watched together, the children loved seeing themselves on screen. We also selected a number of children to explain each engagement weekend through a short presentation. This was a way to show the parents what we have been doing with their children.

Summary Presentation by the children

We were also fortunate to have Sharen Lim, a UKM nutritionist graduate to give a short discussion on healthy living to the parents. It was lovely to see the parents interacting and sharing insights on getting their children to eat better. We then called each one of the children to receive their Food Ninja completion certificate, a button badge and ninja headband. After a long round of good byes and numerous group hugs it was time to say goodbye to the children. We ended with a final loud Go Banana’s and wished the children well.

Sharen, a nutritionist graduate giving a short talk on nutrition

Discussion session

We knew of course before starting the project, the risk of short term engagement and how difficult it would be to say goodbye. We hope we gave the children enough reminders of the length of the project to manage all parties expectations. We also hope that some of the messages we had shared stays on with the children. It has been an incredible adventure so far, for each and every one of us. We all started from a complete blank slate and finished with a room of 18 very happy children.

Food Ninja Mini Graduation Ceremony

You can also find out more about this project via AIESEC Sunway’s THUMP Webpage.

Yasmin Lane is the research lead at #BetterCities. She graduated with a degree in International Relations and has since shifted her interest from the people and institutions that make up the city to learning new ways of shaping and improving the structures of the city itself.

Week 5 : Engagement 5, The Sickly See-Saw and The Amazing Ninja Challenge

We had our final Food Ninja weekend in week 5, on the 23rd and 24th of August. On the Saturday, for engagement 5 we wanted to share one final lesson with the children which was the consequences of eating too much salt and sugar.

Eating too much salt can cause hair loss and hypertension (an unhealthy heart) and eating too much sugar can give you bad teeth and diabetes. We tried to teach this lesson to the children as visually as possible, as it was new information and we wanted to leave a lasting impression.

Consequences of unhealthy eating presentation by Sam

We covered this lesson in the ‘Sickly See-Saw’ activity. First, Samanatha gave a short presentation about why eating too much salt and sugar has bad consequences using images and cartoons pictures the children can relate to. Then, Will and Sam led a mini science experiment with the children. The children were split into 4 different groups and each group were assigned different types of food to measure its sugar or salt content. We selected things that the children were familiar with and purchased frequently from the local food stalls. Two groups would measure the sugar content of Milo and the other of fruit cordial. While another two groups measured the salt content of Super Rings and Tiger Biscuits.

The Sickly See-Saw Activity

We gave each group a ‘See-Saw’ and a cup containing the same amount of sugar or salt found in their designated food. The children then had to add sugar or salt to balance the see-saw with the cup. In the end, the children had to take the balanced cup to a weighing scale to find out how much it weighed and then shared it on the board. This activity was very hands-on and the children could observe for themselves the amount of sugar and salt goes into a packet of some of their favorite food. The children were then asked to compare which types of food had more or less sugar and salt and we discussed which ones were considered healthier.
The Sickly See-Saw – measuring and balancing

Next up, we wanted to do a re-cap activity of all the things we had learned during the Food Ninja program. We decided to do an Amazing Food Ninja Challenge with the children, similar to the amazing race with different stations, tasks, and pieces of puzzle to collect. We broke the challenge down into four different station that was managed by the 5 EPs. We placed the stations in different parts of the PPR and gave each group a map to figure out just where the stations are. Each station would lead to the groups to another station based on a simple question. For example after completing a station, the station master would ask, ‘What does eating protein do for your body?’. The children have learned about the different nutrition and know that protein gives us muscles and would then have to look for the muscle station in the map. This was a way for us to keep the game interesting and organised while re-capping the use of maps with the children.

The muscle station

We had ‘Pass the Parcel’ station, where the children had to pass around the parcel until the music stopped. At each layer of the parcel the children had to act out the benefits of eating different types of nutrients. For example, if the parcel read ‘Healthy eyes’, they would have to act it out and then as a group decide which nutrient gives you healthy eyes. We stuck the nutrients options (Vitamin A, B, calcium, carbohydrate and protein onto a nearby tree for hints.

Pass the parcel – nutrient and benefit station

There was also a ‘pop the balloon’ station, where the children had to pop balloons filled with different caricatures of consequences of healthy and unhealthy eating. The children had to pop the balloons using anything but their feet and then take a picture of their caricature. They then had to discuss what causes the different consequences. This activity is based on the earlier ‘Sickly See-Saw’ experiment.

The children and their caricature at the ‘Pop the balloon’ station

Another station was a MyPlate re-cap where the children had to sort out a giant MyPlate and decide which food groups the food falls under. And the final station was a ‘Pin-the-tail’ like activity where the children took turns to be blindfolded and then had to paste their selected habit onto a healthy ninja and unhealthy monster. This was to re-cap the healthy and unhealthy lifestyle habits that we covered in engagement 4.

‘Pin the tail’ onto the healthy ninja or unhealthy monster

At east station we also distributed water to keep them hydrated and re-iterate the importance of drinking enough water. We also gave out bananas as a intermission in between the stations for the children to power up! If they completed the task at each station, the groups were a piece of puzzle, which they had to put together in the end to create a full picture. Needless to say there was a lot of running around that day but the children as usual didn’t show the slightest bit of fatigue! We wanted the children to show their initiative themselves so although each group was accompanied by an adult, they completed each station on their own and had to help each other out to complete the tasks.

Completed puzzle after the Amazing Ninja Challenge

You can also keep track of this project via AIESEC Sunway’s THUMP Webpage.

Yasmin Lane is the research lead at #BetterCities. She graduated with a degree in International Relations and has since shifted her interest from the people and institutions that make up the city to learning new ways of shaping and improving the structures of the city itself.