It’s not every day that we get to meet like-minded people who share the same goals that we do. But on November 11, 100 local and international school students were brought together with a shared vision of helping children around the world.
The Unicef Club Orientation: Village of 100 people, held at Victoria Shanghai Academy, taught young people about the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Young Post jumped in on the happy occasion, in which these keen activists were divided into different “ethnic groups” and completed five key challenges that revolved around Unicef’s work. This was done with the help of illustration videos followed by hands-on experience. At the end of the activity, the groups were asked to decide which goals they’d like to promote in their schools.
Many of the participants felt that the activity helped them see things more clearly.
“You hear things on the news all the time, but you can’t actually relate to them properly,” explained Zoe Ng from Creative Secondary School. “Now I have a clearer image of how things really are.”
The sight of artificial unclean drinking water, for instance, left a strong impression on the 16-year-old, and reminded her of the kind of things we take for granted in developed countries.
Her schoolmate and friend, 18-year-old Somia Au, said the experimental activities helped “raise awareness of issues that we know about, but haven’t got deep enough into.”
Many participants were there simply because they were passionate about the issues at hand.
“I have always felt sympathy for children who don’t have rights” said Maryknoll Convent School (Secondary Section) student Kwan Wing-nam. “It’s unfair that [children in Hong Kong] enjoy them while some living in other places don’t. I believe everyone in the world should be treated equally, regardless of their age or nationality.”
After learning more about the SDGs and global civil rights on the day, Wing-nam hopes to contribute to her school’s Unicef club, and become an advocate of gender quality, in particular.
“I hope that I can do something to change the mindsets of some of the older [people] who still believe in patriarchy and practise its traditions,” said the 13-year-old.
Tracy Yan and Venus Yuen, both 15, from Tin Ka Ping Secondary School were fascinated by the emergency kits.
“We’ve gained more knowledge about the work of Unicef and got the chance to learn about things in the emergency kits, such as the water-purification tablets,” said Tracy.
“We learned about supplement drinks containing electrolytes which prevent further dehydration in children who are suffering from diarrhoea after drinking unclean water,” added Venus.
The experience not only taught the participants and volunteers about key issues, but encouraged them to spread this newfound knowledge among their peers.
“After some students tasted Plumpy’Nut [a peanut-based paste for treating children with severe malnutrition], they asked me if they could bring samples to show their friends in school,” said event organiser and advocacy manager of Unicef Hong Kong, Sofia Fung.
She added that Unicef hopes to facilitate collaboration between Unicef clubs in local schools.
“Some students have expressed concern about initiating joint-school projects which could be difficult to execute without any contact with other schools. We would therefore like to take this opportunity to bridge students [Unicef club members] of different schools together.”