Globalisation has accelerated the mobility of capital and knowledge. It has also tightened the connection between individuals in different parts of the world. The impact we can make to the world is beyond measure because we are part of this global community. As global citizens, have you ever thought of taking the lead to serve the community and make a difference?
As an education major student at the Hong Kong Institute of Education, I was very lucky to have met a group of like-minded students from my school who also aspired to make the world a better place through service leadership and education. We travel to developing countries like Vietnam and Nepal to explore the dynamics in different education discourses and promote international volunteering to the local communities.
Our days at these service programmes usually start with teaching at local schools followed by renovation of the schools in the afternoon to enhance the school environment for the students. There were many amazing and memorable moments from these experiences, however there was a small yet life-changing one that always lingers in my mind.
One day my team and I were painting the walls for a kindergarten in Vietnam. Suddenly there was a stampede of students on bicycles rushing home for lunch. Seeing foreigners working in their village, they were particularly excited to stop to join us. I handed paintbrushes to the children and had them help finish the refurbishment with us. No matter how insignificant the task might have seemed, the children had so much fun painting the walls that they even came back to the site with their siblings and happily showed them what they had contributed to the school.
Their smiles and happiness made me ponder how I could be a better global citizen and make community service more sustainable. After the programmes, I have come up with my own definition of volunteering.
- a service that you provide to facilitate people to develop a sense of belonging to their communities and empower them to keep on contributing their talents and knowledge
From my perspective, everyone can be a service provider taking the initiative to make a positive impact in the community.
I encourage everyone to stay proactive at all times to think about what you can do to serve your community. You can even find some good friends who share a similar attitude and perspective of the world as you and discuss how you can make good use of the social resources to make your dreams come true. No matter how big or small your ideas are, your willingness and initiative matter most. Don't belittle your power. You can be an awesome leader.