GIN852 shows how we can help the refugee crisis and act on other global issues from here in Hong Kong

GIN852 shows how we can help the refugee crisis and act on other global issues from here in Hong Kong


Global Action Network Gang in discussion.
Photo: Jeanie Li

The conference “This Generation Acts” presented by GIN852, took place in International Christian School (ICS) on November 14 and 15. Young Post junior reporters were invited to discuss the refugee crisis with other students.

Have you ever thought about participating in a 2-day conference to discuss global issues? GIN852 (The Global International Network Conference) is an educational, global event. The keynote speaker on the second day, Victoria Wisniewski Otero, the Advocacy Officer at Justice Centre Hong Kong, got everyone thinking with her speech. The topic of the talk piqued audiences’ interests – refugees around the world. More importantly, she shared her views on how to be an active citizen by reading the news every day, doing community service and getting out of their comfort zones.

Pollution and atmospheric damage Gang finalising action plans. Photo: Jeanie Li

Since the conference was supported by several international schools in Hong Kong, the participants were divided into different Global Action Network Groups, or Gangs, to have an open discussion about a specific global issue. One Gang focused the discussion on the importance of women’s rights and the reasons why women’s right are abused, before each Gang mapped out a possible solution to the issue. Some controversial ideas were suggested, but these only helped stimulate discussion.

The highlight of the day was definitely the presentation by each Gang. Once the controversial ideas had been fully discussed, most students managed to reach a consensus. Two speakers from each Gang were invited to go on stage and present their finalised action plans. For the Women’s Rights gang, viable and feasible measures like fundraising through a bake sale and non-uniform days at schools were some possible suggestions that could be used to raise money during Women’s Week. The Gang also highlighted the importance of social media as an influential tool, or creating a challenge such as drawing pink hearts on their right hands to raise awareness of women’s rights.

Nike Lai

The event kicked off with a welcome speech by Mr Brian Van Tassel, the principal of ICS, and was followed by an a cappella cover of It's Time by Imagine Dragons, then a short break afterwards marked the start of the first Gang session, where one of the hot topics was biodiversity loss.

Throughout the conference, students were able talk about the action everyone must take to solve the environmental issues in Hong Kong amid the loss of our native wildlife such as the elusive Muntjac deer. Two of the biggest highlights came in the form of a charity fair and a poverty simulation. Students were able to meet a variety of organisations such as Christian Action, the 852 Freedom Campaign, Crossroads, and even the newly formed Soap Cycling project, among others.

 After lunch, students got to learn more about their goals and about how each small step made a difference, from recycling old soap, to fighting slavery through economical means.

The poverty simulation followed soon afterwards. It was an hour’s insight into the lives of the poor across the globe. It gripped us and showed what it was really like to live below the poverty line, spending less than USD0.50 a day. We were placed into families, and became children, adults, and grandparents. As each day began, the children had to collect water in the form of paper strips one at a times, whilst adults had to make newspaper shirts for little to no pay, and where the grandparents were stuck at home being a burden to the family.

As the day wore on, punishments got harder, from being treated unfairly to being sent to jail just people couldn’t pay up. Personally, this experience didn’t just show me how some people are living, it also showed me just how important it is to truly motivate ourselves to stop this endless string of poverty that has burdened human society for years.

GIN852 wasn’t just a conference; it was a window into the problems of the world, showing what we are capable of doing, and above all, how we, as a generation, can act.

Nicholas Ng 


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