Naveen, from Bank of America Merrill Lynch, volunteered with his children in Project Home Works (PHW) to repair home for Grandma Ng in Tsui Ping Estate, Kwun Tong. They overcame communication barriers through their actions, and helped Grandma Ng to improve her living conditions:
Naveen: I feel proud to be associated with a company that invest its efforts in serving communities. When our bank launched to volunteer, I was very pleased to finally get an opportunity. I am a part of this community and fortunate enough to receive good education and a safe upbringing. However, not everyone else is. Volunteering is an experience that reminds me of how much we owe to this world.
Naveen: The opportunity to contribute to someone who would otherwise be deprived from clean and safe living was very satisfying.
Despite language barriers, I could see the joy and gratitude in the eyes of an elderly single woman – She was extremely ecstatic and hugged me tight……I realized that even very small gestures and acts of service can mean a lot and can make a big difference.
Naveen: It clearly helped them with gaining the inner joy that comes from selfless service. I hope that they sustain this feeling by contributing more to expand the horizon of their thoughts. They are already looking forward to join again.
“With an unyielding spirit, I can always find my value in every position I am at.”
Dressed in suit, Helen looks no different from an ordinary working mother. However, joining Habitat has made her life extraordinary. She is proud of herself taking up three important roles in life.
“The first wall we built was taken down because it was not safe,” laughed Helen when she recalled her first building experience with Habitat in Jimmy & Rosalynn Carter Work Project in Sichuan in 2009. Such an obstacle seems trivial compared to the real challenges she faced in the Blue Sky Build Project in Mongolia the next year. She sprained her right wrist when she was working. She couldn’t even lift a brick. Yet, giving-up is not a word to be found in her life dictionary. “Soon I started to think about what else I could help with in this build. With this yielding spirit, I can always find my value in every position I am at,” said Helen. She later took up a new role to distribute building materials. Thinking positively enables her to overcome challenges every time.
In Mongolia, Helen had a rethink about the real meaning of being a volunteer, “You can be there to bring love, showing the partner families that people do care for one another in this world. Money isn’t everything,” Helen always wants to share with her family and students to her invaluable volunteer experience.
Helen’s daughter is also an active Habitat volunteer. She joined China and Thailand building projects. “Instead of telling my daughter what to do, I show her the right things to do. She knows I have been there (taking part in building projects) and she knows that it is worth trying,” said Helen. Despite a tight study schedule, her daughter managed to spend her holidays to build overseas. “If she joins the activity again, that means she likes it,” continued Helen. Showing us the Facebook photos of her daughter, Helen smiled with pride.
As a Program Director of HKUST Connect, Helen is eager to organize volunteer activities for students. She is pleased to see students work hard to raise money for their trip. “It is a good training for them to fight for what they believe in,” she said. To Helen, joining building projects overseas can improve students’ language skills. “You can’t get your job done unless you talk to each other,” joked Helen. Believing in the benefits of volunteering with Habitat, Helen always gives her best effort to organize building projects for students in spite of the high cost.
Taking up “triple roles” for years, Helen encourages our volunteers not to confine themselves to what they can achieve. Helen did not limit herself and built with Habitat. She even encouraged her daughter and students to join the projects. At the end of our interview, Helen took out her Habitat hard hat and said, “Everyone can make a contribution in different areas.”