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  • Writer's pictureAICREATIVV

The Head and Heart of a YSEALI Fellow, Elroy Ramantan

Elroy recounts his experience and reignites his passions at the 2023 YSEALI Institute of Civic Engagement Summit.

Elroy recounts his experience and reignites his passions at the 2023 YSEALI Institute of Civic Engagement Summit.

In May 2023, our Strategic Partner, Elroy Ramantan, attended the YSEALI Institute of Civic Engagement Summit in Bangkok, Thailand. There, he joined workshops, networked with fellow YSEALI members, and most importantly, found comfort in connecting with those who understand him the most.

Opportunities Hidden Behind Adversities

Elroy’s YSEALI journey began back in 2019 when he joined the Fellowship, finding his niche in the Institute of Civic Engagement. Despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, which led to the halt of YSEALI programs in 2020, Elroy remained committed to advocacy work. He collaborated with fellow YSEALI alumni, from both Brunei and other ASEAN countries, and worked closely with the US embassy in their mission to strengthen the relationship between the US and ASEAN. Through these endeavours, Elroy built a dynamic network, eventually becoming the go-to person for other YSEALI members seeking meaningful connections.

Elroy Ramantan of AICREATIVV at the 2023 YSEALI Institute of Civic Engagement Summit.

Stories that Fuel Advocacy

At the YSEALI summit, Elroy reconnected with his past and the core reasons behind his passion for advocacy. In the workshop titled “Hands, Head, and Heart: Telling Your Story and Creating Change”, Fellows shared their stories and experiences, and while some focused on the successes of their advocacy projects, many also opened up about their personal journeys that had led them to champion the causes they believed in. Personal stories like these acted as bridges, connecting individuals who had faced similar struggles and inspiring collaboration to address critical issues. In Elroy’s own words, he described it:

“Using our storytelling as a medium to inspire and impact the community for a positive change.”

Elroy recounted his own story of growing up feeling different, struggling with loneliness and a lack of understanding from his peers. Over time, he has learned to embrace his uniqueness and to use it as a strength to stand out from the crowd. But because of this experience, Elroy makes an effort to learn multiple languages, immerse himself in diverse cultures, and connect with others so that no one else would have to experience the isolation he once endured.

Connections of a Unique Value

While he forges connections and widens his network, Elroy noticed a parallel between the work he does for AICREATIVV and the work he does advocating in YSEALI. Our creative design agency aims to tell our clients’ stories of identifying gaps in the market and developing innovative solutions to fill them. Similarly, YSEALI alumni share stories of the gaps they perceive in the world and their deep desire to find kindred spirits to collaborate with and effect change. It’s no wonder that Elroy possesses exceptional networking skills, honed through experience and applied in whatever situation he finds himself in.

Despite the similarity, Elroy makes a clear distinction between networking in business and in YSEALI. Unlike conventional networking, YSEALI fosters personal connections rooted in individuals' stories, struggles, and their shared commitment to mitigating societal challenges. There is a genuine desire among YSEALI members to connect on a personal level, seeking empathy and understanding from those who comprehend the unique burdens they bear as representatives of YSEALI.

YSEALI leaders maintain a strong and unyielding front as they fight for societal rights and environmental change. However, the weight of responsibilities may sometimes be overwhelming and almost too heavy to bear, leading to burnout unique from the type of exhaustion one might experience from work. Therefore, finding solidarity in others who share similar personal struggles allows them the opportunity to share that weight, to cry, rest, and lay their heads on each others’ shoulders, even just for a few days.

Elroy Ramantan of AICREATIVV at the 2023 YSEALI Institute of Civic Engagement Summit.

Fighting the Passionate Fight for Human Rights

There’s a reason why individuals like Elroy continue to fight for their advocacies, giving a voice to those who need it and strength to those who have the potential to be the solution to social issues in their community. Despite living in separate countries and having busy schedules, Elroy continues to nurture his connections with his Fellow members, discussing new collaborative projects, or exchanging ideas to replicate successful past projects in their respective communities.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Elroy collaborated with ‘Youth Against Slavery’, an organisation dedicated to advocating for human rights and combating slavery, together providing disposable and reusable masks to migrant workers who lacked the means to obtain them. Three years later, they continue to work together to address issues surrounding migrant workers and marginalised communities.

We are so proud of Elroy for his unwavering commitment to making a positive impact, and for maintaining resilience even in the face of adversity. We hope his strength never wavers, and his passion continues to inspire.

Elroy Ramantan of AICREATIVV at the 2023 YSEALI Institute of Civic Engagement Summit.


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