Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Sean's Sharing - Turning Slumdogs into Millionaire

The reason of organizing this project is tracing back to the summer of 2007, when I joined a Service Learning Program called Project SEE held by General Education Unit, HKU. I was sent to Kolkata, India to work with a local NGO named FOCUS (Forum of Community United in Service) in the theme of Child Rights. Although it was not my first volunteer service trip, India culture definitely had great impact on me. We didn't do much in that trip (only teaching and home visits), however, I don't want the service to be just one-off-deal, and I really see the needs of those children and women striving for education.

Last year I went back to Kolkata and discuss with my friends working in FOCUS on how we could do something that actually benefit those poor family living in slum areas. Then finally we set up a Child Education Sponsorship Program to support educational expenses for 50 children. We found out that it only costs HK$ 300-400 for one year education fees including uniforms, books and stationery. If Hong Kong people can save money from buying 2 sets of clothes or eating out twice a week, we can definitely sponsor more kids to go to school! Before I left Kolkata, we also discussed about the situation of unemployment, and not surprisingly found out it is difficult for high school graduates to find a job. Therefore, we got to consider other ways to assist them.

When I came back to Hong Kong, Charlotte Wong and me founded an organization (not registered yet) called Impact For Peace. We would like to achieve two main goals: Universal Education and Sustainable living Standard Improvement in Third World Countries. We strongly believe when people are willing to share what they have with people who are in need, and create an impact to the friends around, world peace is not too far to reach. Although we can't deal with all the political reasons, we only want to show Love and Care, and that is the most important in mankind.

This Summer Impact For Peace recruited 10 HKU students to continue our work in Kolkata. This time we are focusing on deliver Vocational Skills to women and high school graduates, in order to let them acquire some skills like leather work making and computer utilization etc. This project is sustainable since after HKU students left, those women and graduates are still making the leather bags. We are now planning to set up a fair-trading line so that the money earned from selling their products (in Hong Kong or elsewhere) can be put back into bonus rewarded to the maker, and buying raw materials. We hope you can support our project by buying one leather bag, there are limited stocks in CEDARS office! Come and grab one!!

Next year we would like to organize a similar project in India, if you think you have special talents and you want to share your skills to Indian women and students, please contact us at: impact.for.peace@gmail.com

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