Giving Back

When I was about 8 or 9, I visited Mother Theresa’s Shishu Bhavan, a home for abandoned children in Bangalore. It left a lasting impression on me. Kids who were healthy, kids who had congenital diseases. All so loved by nuns with a true vocation. I also visited a facility which treated leprosy patients who made and sold leather satchels and handbags to support them while they were being treated and participated in a school drive to help the patients sell the leather handbags. I still have the certificate to prove it, so proud of myself for raising funds for them! We had dear family friends who worked with the leprosy patients to make sure they took their meds and counsel them into staying in the facility, as many stopped the meds and left the facility for the more lucrative begging profession.

My mother worked for Oxfam and we constantly had passionate social reformers from all over the world stopping by for my dad’s fabulous cooking. Many of them would spend weekends in our home. So even as kids, my sisters and I participated in discussions about corruption, poverty, disease, healthcare, and what we could do to make the world a better place.

So for the past few years, I’ve been blessed to be involved with Community Business, The Women’s Foundation, Kids4Kids, and Diversity and Inclusion Asia Network. And of course, my profession is not an accident. I am thrilled that doing with I do in Human Resources, I can actually MAKE a difference to how leaders think, how people are treated, how seriously corporations take their responsibility. I’ve been invited to share my experiences at HR conferences, and it gives me joy to know that I am contributing to mindset change and skills growth in Hong Kong.

But I’ve always worked to train adults and coach leaders. So last year, when I was invited to conduct a class on Power of Voice with teenage school kids at Kids4Kids Powered by Youth Forum, I felt so honoured. It was challenging teaching a classroom of teenagers, most of whom had never written poetry or even sung before, the power of channeling their voice into songwriting and song. But, OMG, I learned so very much of what’s going through the minds of our Hong Kong children. Much of their writing was about hopelessness and depression, but resolving into the power of self acceptance and self love, done as rap. I’ve been invited back this year, and given the current situation, it’s going to be especially poignant for me and the kids, I’m sure. Kids4Kids does some great work to bring literacy and hope to the underserved in HK, and gives our more privileged school kids a chance to give back. I’ll post back on my experience in this blog.