Mini Fund for Youth Projects 2020

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AYF's Mini Fund for Youth 2020 is to support right-based & youth-led activism and movements at national and local level across countries in Southeast Asia during the coronavirus pandemic. We support programs, initiatives, activities with underlying values human rights, democracy, justice, peace, and freedom that target young people aged 15-35 years old.


Project Officer : Anukriti Banerjee is a geography student and is passionate about fostering inclusivity and community wellbeing activities. She is fluent in four languages and hopes to empower vulnerable groups through her collaborations with ASEAN Youth Forum. Apart from her role as AYF Mini Fund’s Project Officer, she has previously hosted open spaces on mental health, migrant worker inclusion and participated in interregional dialogues on community building through arts and culture, among other endeavours.

Brunei Darussalam


Cope for Hope is an early stage project led by university students in Brunei with the aim of educating young people about mental health and related issues through advocacy training workshops and coalition building activities. Five workshops were conducted over a period of five weeks with the goal of providing a safe space for mental health advocates and allies to strategize agendas to address gaps in national and campus agendas on mental health. Student leaders worked actively with government officials and other experts to fight mental health stigma and encourage the youth to be involved in mental health advocacy. | @copeforhopebrunei



Started in 2018, this is a project which advocates for LGBTQ+ rights in Cambodia through internet activism. On the issue of LGBTQ+ rights, Cambodia still has a ways to go in addressing stigma and other challenges and initiatives like LoveisDiversity are important in bridging those gaps.  The team even has support from The United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women. For the duration of the Fund, the team engaged with popular social media influencers to spread awareness and increase their reach even more – and they were highly successful as two magazines even contacted them in December to feature their work.




The COVID-19 pandemic has undoubtedly had a grave impact on the tourism industry and this is even more true for countries like Cambodia which depends so heavily on it for its national income. Understanding the need to help youth in tourism affected by the pandemic, team JoJek planned for a series of upskilling workshops to help youth gain digital literacy and other skills to help them stay relevant in the job market – be it tourism or any other sector.

JoJek on Facebook



Petrasu, a project for championing the rights of transgender people, is the first of its kind in the Simalungun, Indonesia. The initiative, started in Nov 2020, surveys the conditions of transgender women in the selected communities to create a network of advocates who can safeguard the legal and social rights of trans people who are otherwise discriminated and may be abused by the people in their families and communities. Petrasu trains the select advocates to be familiar with legal processes such as transitioning with safety and dignity and also maintain the general physical and mental wellbeing of trans people. This is an early stage project with a big potential to become a strong support network for the transgender community in the remote districts of Indonesia where such services may be otherwise unavailable.



Teens and Dreams is an inter-university project which conducts various activities for young people’s welfare across Myanmar. This year, they focused on mental-health activities with support from the Fund. They conducted a competition, “Your Story Matters”,  for young people to showcase their talents and get involved in artistic activities to provide relief from the long periods of isolation. Schools and universities in Myanmar have been closed for well over 8 months – few have online learning – which means that previously active youth are almost completely cut off from their friends and social life. Thus, this project has been timely and effective in its goal to promote mental health activities and awareness. | Teens and Dreams on Facebook | @tnd_teensndreams



Deafability started in 2020 in the Deep South of Thailand (Pattani, Yala, and Narathiwat and nearby areas), following the results of a research which identified 300 deaf children in the community but little to no resources for their education and wellbeing. The team, in collaboration with the local Association for Deaf People, found that schools with appropriate audio-visual support are distant from the hometowns of these deaf students and religious curriculum does not support inclusive education. These students were thus unable to converse in Thai sign language and had no standard medium of communication. Parents and teachers are also unaware of future opportunities and careers for deaf people. Thus, Deafability had a clear aim – to educate deaf children, parents and teachers in Thai sign language to help them integrate better into the society. The team distributed handmade flashcards, hosted workshops and streamed the sessions on Facebook for a wider audience to join.

Muslim Deaf Thailand on Facebook



“Tugon” is the Tagalog word for rescue/save (or so I was told by the team). This project is a few years in the making and is led by university students. Tugon Rescue planned and implemented a programme to teach water hygiene to a residents of a slum in Manila. The team distributed 6 water filters and taught the residents of the slum how to use them.  These will work for the benefit of more than 20 families. The group also shared knowledge and experiences on proper hygiene practices and sanitation to educate 86 youths in total. All this was done live and with respect to the local safety guidelines for the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Tugon Rescue on Facebook



Zager was started by a local artist in Timor-Leste who saw the potential of art as a medium to promote conversations on gender-quality and advocacy against gender-based violence. Zinha (Leader) decided to paint a mural depicting gender diversity when she learned of increased instances of violence against LGBTQ+ people in the news – including of a mother who was killed while protecting her child from a rapist. To commemorate the life of the deceased mother and the other victims, Zinha and her friends painted a large mural on the wall of a football field in the city – so that passing cars and people would see the mural and question the artists behind its meaning. The project was simple, well-planned and efficiently implemented.




PARD is a mature project – several years in the making – led by a deaf women working for the benefit of the deaf community. Tien (the team leader / trainer) painted the landscape of deaf education in Vietnam (which is lacking, to say the least). Of 2.5 million deaf people in Vietnam, only 30 have graduated from University and only 1 has a master’s degree. Most decisions about the future and wellbeing of deaf people are made by hearing people – which means that many policies, while sensible on paper, do not benefit the target demographic at all. For example, sign language education is absent from the main curriculum. Thus, deaf people in Vietnam face a double-edged sword – they neither read Vietnamese well nor have academic sign language due to which they are a vulnerable group as their safety and wellbeing is compromised.  One such instance was highlighted during the COVID-19 pandemic – news about the disease outbreak and safety protocols was made for hearing people which means that many deaf people were missing potentially life-saving information. This is where Tien and the PARD team stepped in to translate news and make information accessible to the deaf community. By providing sign-language education through workshops and sign-language interpretations for health-related news on social media, PARD filled an important gap in the national development agenda.


PARD on Facebook



One of the most unique projects in this iteration of the Fund is YUU (Youth Engagement Training Initiative). The focus of the project is to train passionate young people in Kon Tum– a poor province in Central Vietnam - in community service, civic engagement, and social activity. The need was identified by the project leader who felt that while motivated, young people can often be sporadic in their community participation. Although they might have good intentions, their activities sometimes create a harmful effect on their beneficiaries, especially the vulnerable community in the central provinces, including the elderly and the ethnic minority children – as they might be untrained to respond to the specific needs of vulnerable community. To prevent such negative impacts from the student volunteers’ activities, YUU creates trainings to help students improve knowledge about community welfare – specifically how it can be done in a socially and economically sustainable manner. During the timeline of the Fund, YUU hosted 6 virtual sessions, 2 panel discussions and 1 full-day experiential trip. While experienced in conducting such training sessions, the team did not anticipate the numerous challenges facing the organisation of the experiential trip – notably a resurgence of the number of COVID-19 cases which caused many venues to shut down and strict implementation of safety protocols. Nevertheless, the team was able to innovate and decided to use the a forest as the new location – something they haven’t done before but plan to keep doing in future iterations because it was a big success. The various games and activities helped the participants de-stress and apply leadership skills in real life scenarios. | YUU on Facebook

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