This post was written by Sofia Singer, HKIS high school student and Enrich Student Advisory Committee member. Sofia has been volunteering with Enrich since 2015.
Student to Student, Changing the World
Sitting at a small Starbucks, at the close of 2016, Ella and I were asked by Victoria to become Enrich’s first Student Advisory Committee. We were both very excited and ideas began whirring away for the task ahead of us.
Ella and I started with Enrich as an eighth grade Compassion Project for our school. Enrich opened our eyes to things we wouldn’t have known or found out about hadn’t we gotten engaged as volunteers. We were learning about a group of people and individuals that plays a significant part of our lives and our city, Hong Kong. It became something more than a school project to us and we decided to carry on volunteering with Enrich. We started out with desk work, which included encoding surveys, through which we learned that some helpers come to Hong Kong not knowing when they will return, and stay here for 20 years or more. Then we got involved in street outreach activities and participating in the Balance on a Shoestring fundraising challenge. Later, we moved on to managing social media accounts and coming up with ways to reach and influence a younger crowd and maintain a wider audience.
Within a few days since our meeting at Starbucks, Ella and I created our little brainchild; a short course for students to on the situation that many domestic workers face in Hong Kong and how students can make a difference. It was good that we had started right away with talking and planning it because when I brought up our involvement with Enrich at my teacher-student conference, we were asked to represent Enrich at the Service Summit at HKIS.
I was super excited. This was such a big achievement to connect Enrich with HKIS, and creating a course – the first of its kind – for students in Hong Kong! Ella and I worked hard and asked ourselves what was it we wanted to say: Who was the audience we wanted to reach? What did we want to present to our fellow students? Where would we hold our classes? When? Why are we doing this and why is it important for our classmates? How are we going to do it?
As the date got closer, I started feeling this lump of anxiety in my stomach. How was the audience going to react? How many people are going to come? I mean, I can count on my dad and my mom and possibly my teacher – but that wasn’t the audience we wanted to reach. When the day came, I was so nervous And it certainly took a lot of confidence to stand up and present our idea. I kept repeating in my mind: ‘Confidence is key. Put on your best smile and don’t shake or rock, and speak slowly.’
On the day, to our surprise, the room wasn’t able to fit the amount of students and teachers coming to watch us speak. Students and teachers squeezed in at the back of the room and even sat on top of tables! Surprised and pleased at the turnout, both Ella and I felt much more confident in what we were about to share. We were happy to have the opportunity to talk in person to this many people about the work we had been doing for months for a cause we feel so strongly about.
Ella and I presented our carefully crafted speech to the crowded room. It was nerve-racking to present but having Ella, by my side as partners in this project, made me feel calmer. When we were finished, I saw the eyes of eager and open-minded students, awaiting to make a change in the world. I am proud that I was able to present to them and hopeful that they will take what they learned from us and seek to get involved on these issues and with Enrich.
The Free The Children founder, Craig Keilburger, once said, “It only takes a child to change to world, and as children we can do so much.” Ella and I hope to make a wider and younger audience aware of Enrich’s mission, and we are thankful to be able to work for a cause we care so strongly about!
by Sofia Singer, Enrich Student Advisory Committee and HKIS student
We are grateful to have Sofia and Ella as our student advisors and volunteers. We are so proud of their achievement and initiative to engage themselves as well as their peers in community issues and solutions.
See also: Ella’s review of her time on the Balance on a Shoestring challenge: here.
2017 is Enrich’s 10 Anniversary year. For 10 years we have been educating and empowering migrant domestic workers to change the ways they and their families manage money to achieve a more financially stable future. Help us to we reach our next 10,000: here.