|24 June 2012||
The “Better Health, Better Lives, Better Future” Project (BBB) was launched in January this year. Project BBB aims to improve water quality and hygiene awareness in the orphanages of Siem Reap, Cambodia. From June 24 to July 2, 2012, the BBB team (they called themselves “BBBers”) visited two orphanages in Siem Reap and accomplished the following tasks:
The project initiator, Cherry Zhang (PhD student, Faculty of Medicine), visited the orphanages last year and had witnessed the poor living conditions of the children. After returning to Hong Kong, she invited four of her colleagues and friends at HKU to form the BBB committee, hoping to do something for those poor children in Cambodia.
"In Hong Kong, we worry about grades and smart-phones, but in Cambodia they worry about food and other basic necessities.” said Cherry Zhang.
Thanks to the HKU Centre of Development and Resources for Students (CEDARS), the BBB committee received sponsorship from the HKU SERVICE 100 Fund. This enabled them to recruit 15 more students at HKU to participate in this project. However, it was no way easy to achieve all the goals the BBBers had planned! The BBBers encountered numerous major and minor obstacles, from the preparation stage to during the service trip. The construction of the water tank and the purification system were most difficult tasks for them.
"Everything starts from zero. We come across the obstacles one by one with all BBBers. The major difficulty was the lack of professional knowledge and techniques. Even though we had group mates studying architecture and civil engineering, asking for help from a mason was the only way to learn how to use bricks. You then realise that several years of learning from architecture textbooks becomes zero when you need to build a tank by hand.” Katherine Lee (BNurs, Year 2), responsible for the construction of the water purification system.
Actually, when the BBBers performed the health checks and educated the children on basic medical knowledge, some of them also shared the same feeling that their knowledge learnt at university was definitely not enough to help those children.
"A child had a severe wound on his arm, he yelled with pain when I washed his wound. Hearing his yelling and seeing his tears, I wanted to cry too at why a child would have to suffer like this. If he had received better medical care when he got hurt, his wound would not have worsened. If I study harder, I might find more ways to relieve his suffering. I realised my usefulness at that moment.” Chan Yun Mui (BNurs studnet).
Despite the difficulties they encountered, all the BBBers learnt a lot from the preparation work as well as during the service trip. In addition to the knowledge and leadership skills that the BBBers gained, some even started to think about their own lives.
"We are constantly complaining about the little problems in life, but when we take a break from our normal life and step into others' shoes once in a while, we will find that the grudges we were holding on are not significant at all. Life is too short to be wasted on these petty matters, and there are a lot of people and issues in the outside world that are more worthy of our attention. We do not have the ability to offer help to everyone, but at least we can do as much as possible with the resources we have.” Queenie Wong (BA(ArchStud), Year 2).
Credit is given to all the BBBers for their hard work and passion to help children; the BBB trip could not have been completed successfully without them. They would like to express their most sincere gratitude to NWS Holdings Charities Foundation for being a partner and sponsor. The BBBers would also like to acknowledge the Colgate-Palmolive Company for the donation of oral health products, Conservancy Association for the donation of second-hand clothes, and Soap Cycling for the donation of recycled soap.
"Better Health, Better Lives, Better Future (BBB)” is a visionary, but challenging project. As a volunteer from a corporate organisation, I deeply appreciate the effort and love contributed by every BBBer. Even though they are students, every one performed very well to achieve our missions.” Mr Johnny Yeung, a volunteer from NWS Holdings Limited.
Throughout the trip, the BBBers acted as one, felt as one, and smiled as one. They gave their all to help the children, and gained love and friendship, which are the most precious things on the earth and the source of ever-lasting happiness.