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Seeing a 6-year-old boy smile when you hand him a candy is a feeling that is unforgettable. But what made the China Community Service Trip so successful was the fact that we did not just make one boy happy; we helped an entire school. A school of 105 children. How did all of this start?
One of our dear freshmen, Chen Run Sen (Sam) from Guangdong Province in China took the first step, which was in fact a “giant leap for the Jaguars”. Our lovable and entertaining Professor Golo had shown us a very inspiring video of a trip to Cambodia that the previous Jaguars had organized. It was wonderful to see that other BBA students had taken the initiative to build houses for the poor, and it reminded Sam of a village on the outskirts of the metropolitan city of Guangzhou in China. He thought that if our seniors were able to organize a trip that would make a difference to the lives of others, then we as freshmen could do so too. So, after proposing a plan, which was given the go-ahead, we started working on our very own China Community Service Trip.
Before we set off, we had one very important task to deal with: fund-raising. Learning how to work as a team and market the trip to potential sponsors was a great opportunity for us as business students. Our target was to raise US$3000. At first, when our fundraising team took charge, the amount looked substantial and we reconsidered our goal. However, with diligence nobody fails. How much did we eventually raise before we left for our trip? US$4500. An amazing achievement for all of us. We were not only able to meet the budget but exceed our target by a good amount. Our next step was planning what activities to carry out in China.
The village we visited had a school which was extremely poor in every way, from the classrooms to the most basic facilities. We decided to help. The children had no books to learn from. Thus, we took two steps to address this problem:
1. Book donation: we donated close to 500 books so that the children would be able to enjoy both storybooks and educational books.
2. New library: it seemed logical to build a library, since we were already donating the books. We assembled the shelves ourselves to store the newly bought reading materials.
Apart from that, due to lack of funding, classes had been held in a medium-sized hall that had been divided into two parts by a mere cloth. We decided to pitch in and build a wall to divide the big room into two smaller ones, and then converted the second one into a beautifully decorated reading room.
Though building the library and wall were major accomplishments, we felt that there was something missing. We wanted to help the students too, see them smile and be cheerful. We decided to provide them with new school bags for everyday items. Moreover, nothing makes children happier than candies, so, we gave them something tasty to feel the joy of life.
After visiting the school and meeting our objectives, we received great appreciation from the headmaster, teachers and students. It was a moment of great pride for all of us who had gone on this trip together.
Lastly, we also wanted to help the villagers and took it upon ourselves to purchase bags of rice and bottles of peanut oil that we distributed to different households. Apart from donating these basic goods, we had a chat with different families. It was wonderful to listen to them, as they had so much to share with us. The objective of our trip had been to help others (and not expect anything in return), and this is something we definitely achieved.
Going back home, we had become individuals who could hold their faces up high. We were proud to have given back to the community, and regarded this as one of the most memorable trips of our lives so far. Without Sam and Professor Golo, this trip would have meant nothing: much appreciation to both of them. As for the other nine members of the team who took this opportunity to make the world a more equitable place, I can’t express my appreciation for their hard work and genuine desire to help others enough. They have a heart of gold.