Adeline Tam (13N) has been to Baiwan* three times, in 2016 and twice in 2017. She is visiting this area of rural China a fourth time during Quest Week 2018. Here, she shares why she is so devoted to the Baiwan charity and the “happiness” she feels during her teaching trips.
I think Baiwan is very important because we can affect people’s lives positively by teaching them and by giving them materials. So hopefully we can help the kids with their future. The project is affecting the students’ lives but also my own life. Although they learn from me, I have learnt many things from them as well.
I found that it was really fun and I really enjoyed it. I think I get along with the kids and I feel if I go back again they’ll recognise me – it’s like going back home again. I really like that feeling.
We did two teaching practices in HK with different schools. Back at Borrett Road, we taught some primary school students. This year, we’re teaching students from surrounding schools now we are in Sha Tin.
One of my favourite classes was when I based my teaching on who the kids were – they liked sports, they liked to talk, so I just took them out of the classroom and we played games, using our teaching materials so they could learn. We taught them through entertaining them.
They actually taught me how to play badminton and I’m really interested in badminton now. We played a lot of games – even if I didn’t know the sport, I just played anyway. [The students] were actually very good – they played table tennis, badminton, as well as other sports such as basketball, football, everything. They never laughed at me for not knowing how to play anything, they were super nice and taught me how to, even though they were younger than me.
We taught both primary and secondary school students. They don’t really have parents around – they stay with grandparents, or on their own. Secondary school students often just live by themselves in the school in dorms.
They don’t seem sad about their situation – they enjoy life to the fullest even though they know they don’t have much. Their living conditions aren’t that great, but they still really enjoy what they’re doing.
The children are very happy and they don’t go on their phones – they talk, they play, they’re very sporty, they’re very friendly. I just feel so happy when I’m there with them.
After secondary school, they will have to leave Baiwan because there is no work for them there. They have to leave their house and find their own way to make a living. I really respect them actually – they don’t have access to much stuff and information. They’ve planned everything out already – I haven’t planned out my own life.
*Island School supports the Baiwan community by fundraising for facilities, taking donations of clothes and toys and by teaching in the local schools. Current issues being tackled include breakfast and lunch clubs, to ensure the children have a healthy diet, and supporting learning through secondary to tertiary education.
By Julia Mulrooney, Communications and Data Officer