King George V School
The first time I heard about Habitat was in my school’s community service showcase in Guangzhou, China. Amongst the fifteen different organizations presented to us, Habitat for Humanity was one that remained fixated in my mind. I loved the idea volunteers could actually participate and make a tangible difference in the world. I’ve grown up hearing about how important it is to make sure you know where the money you are donating to charity is going to, so it was really important for me to choose an organisation that had the interests of the people at heart and worked to support them.
It’s been two years since I’ve been a part of Habitat, and I’ve had the opportunity of attending a build in Sancun – a small building formed from an agglomeration of villages. Although this town was only two hours away from Guangzhou, one of the biggest cities in China, there was a considerable change in the way of living. Most people in the town lead a rural life consisting of farming and raising livestock, meaning that the housing situation was not well-developed. The Guangdong area is a place that rains frequently (much like Hong Kong), meaning that the houses made with mud walls and tiled roofs form cracks that leak when it rains. These mud houses are narrow, dark, humid, and lack a proper ventilation and sanitation system. Because of this, these houses are not only unhygienic, but also vulnerable to the typhoons that regularly affect this area.
Although I just went there for three days to help build part of one house, we made a really big difference moving the bricks and mixing cement. Knowing that I was able to make a physical difference in someone’s life helped me realise just how real the housing crisis really is. Because I am fortunate to not have to worry about living in a place that is unsafe, that doesn’t mean I can ignore. I still have a duty to do my part and make sure that other people are able to experience living in a safe and clean house.
As such, when I moved to Hong Kong, I knew that I wanted to create a campus chapter in my KGV. My hopes for this chapter is not just to blindly fundraise money, but to help students engage with the community in Hong Kong and globally, whether it’s painting a ceiling in a senior citizen’s house or actually building a house.
We are a part of the one percent that have been given a chance for education, a place to call home, and the freedom to choose our future. That’s our duty to give back to the community and return what we’ve taken. Although the world is sometimes a cruel place, knowing that we have the power to make a difference makes the world we live in a much better place.