With the support of the Kerry Group Kuok Foundation and HKU Centre of Development and Resources for Students (CEDARS), a group of 14 students participated in the project “Poverty and Exclusion Alleviation” (Project PAEAN) in Xiushui, Jiangxi Province, China.
Project PAEAN aims to raise the awareness of students of the difficulties and challenges faced by underprivileged populations, and to cultivate a lifelong sense of social responsibility among these students for the betterment of these deprived groups. The Project PAEAN team made the exploratory trip to a rural village in Xiushui to understand the life and situation of the villagers. Students were divided into three teams to cover education, enterprise and medical service, and to carry out field studies and service.
As a PhD student in Biochemistry, Bryan Ho reflected on the urban way of living after the trip.
“After such an experience in rural areas, I could not help but feel that we can live our lives in a much simpler way and be more environmentally friendly. The earth is in need of this change urgently as we see and hear the depletion of resources and extinction of species on a daily basis”.
This trip was not a one-off project, and the students are planning to give continuous and constructive support to the villagers. After the trip, they reported back on their learning and are developing project ideas to help change the poverty situation or narrow the poverty gap.
Alexander Chan (BEng, Year One) summed it up:
“As our short exploration trip concludes, I must say I am thankful for this learning opportunity. There is indeed still much to be done and it seems that a lot of problems have to do with policy, existing structure and the lack of resources. But we do understand that poverty alleviation is not a one-off process and what we must do is to focus on the best we can do for them. If we can move ahead in this direction, I am confident that we can create a positive lasting impact on their community”.
Click here for more service projects