My 2021 Laidlaw Journey with Think Pacific

In this blog I'm sharing my exciting experiences volunteering with Think Pacific so far and how it's challenging me to develop my leadership skills.

This blog marks the second week of my Leadership in Action project, in which I’m working on a project with Think Pacific! Me and my team are working with Youth Champs 4 Mental Health (YC4MH), a Fijian organisation advocating for mental health and suicide prevention. Having worked on mental health projects in the past, I’m really grateful to get the opportunity to help foster young Fijians’ wellbeing and make a difference in this incredibly worthwhile cause. I cannot emphasise enough how important this topic is; mental health is still unbelievably under-represented worldwide and especially in Fiji it is still shrouded in stigma, so I hope that through our fundraising my team and I can support YC4MH in raising awareness about how important it is to take care of your mental wellbeing.

I chose this project because it sounded like a great way to work hands-on and make a real impact whilst working remotely, as this has made many projects significantly more difficult or not feasible at all. After hearing the Think Pacific team speak about their experiences, learning a bit about Fiji’s incredible culture and how I can truly help people first-hand, there was no doubt in my mind that this was a way I could make a positive impact in the world this summer. Moreover, as there are only three of us working on this really daunting task, it’s giving me a great opportunity to test my leadership skills. It has definitely put me out of my comfort zone so far.

While it has been definitely challenging, the Think Pacific project has also been hugely rewarding. My favourite part has definitely been immersing myself into Fijian culture and learning all about its rich history! Despite all the content being delivered virtually, I think Think Pacific has done a phenomenal job of still making the information engaging and accessible. In the picture below you can see me enjoying my morning with a bit of Fijian pronunciation. How cool that the Think Pacific team included this! 

In the weeks ahead my goal is to develop a fundraising plan that allows YC4MH to meet their fundraising target and be able to host an event that teaches young Fijians how to support their peers’ mental health. Moreover, I want to work effectively with my team in the next month and learn how to find a balance between striving for efficient and high-quality results and nurturing a team. Being a week and a bit into the project, so far I’ve come to realise just what size of a challenge awaits myself and my team, but also how supportive, motivating, and helpful the Think Pacific team is. By the end of the week I’m hoping that my team and I have a good idea of the types of fundraising events that are feasible in Fiji (contextually/culturally and in line with COVID-19 restrictions) and start brainstorming which direction we want to take our fundraising proposal in.

Best of luck to everyone else during their project this summer and an enormous thank you to Lord Laidlaw and the Laidlaw Foundation for making this possible.