Year 12 – COMMUNITY SERVICE PROJECTS – Review – Part 7 and 8 of 10
Over the course of this year we Year 12’s have been divided into committees and tasked with the challenge to manage a community service project from start to finish. The seventh and eighth in our series of reports belongs to the Kon Tum Committees 1 and 2 who worked with Poussières de Vie.
Kon Tum Committee 1
We were put into groups and given the task of raising awareness about the issues of alarmingly low levels of education in Kon Tum. We interacted within the group to organise, plan and then conduct the project, and then we interacted with the entire school in the form of a bake sale.
Project Kon Tum aimed to raise awareness of the fact that there is inadequate education within the Kon Tum orphanages. Through our bake sale, we hoped to raise funds in order to tackle the issue of school fees and the lack of school supplies such as books and stationery. In order to raise awareness about the cause, we designed a poster that was put up around the campus and spoke about our project in a whole school assembly.
We were very successful in terms of raising all the funds needed to financially support the disadvantaged children at Kon Tum orphanages. We encountered difficulties in the process of coming up with ideas for products that are profitable as well as effective in raising awareness. We also found it difficult to communicate between members of the group as we couldn’t agree on the same day for a meeting without any schedule conflict. We managed to find solutions in the end by conducting meetings on Skype when everyone is unavailable to meet face to face.
As the chair of the project, I learned that I should be more authoritative instead of being hesitant as I placed too much importance on friendship. Furthermore, I should have taken more action to ensure that all members contributed to the project, instead of doing all the work myself. Through this project, I’ve developed my leadership as well as my communication and organisational skills.
If we were to do the project again we would divide the work more equally within the members and exert a sense of authority to members of the community who were not willing to carry out their part of the project. We would also aim to increase the level of awareness for our project within the school more so that they will know where their donations are going and how that would help.
This activity helped to raise money to provide children in Kon Tum with books, stationery and other education related equipment so that they are able to have a proper education. We also helped the students in Kon Tum to gain scholarships to higher education. This activity also benefits the students of BIS because they are learning of the world outside of their comfort zone.
We gained more experience in baking as we had to make over 400 products. This is particularly useful for us if we would like to have another bake sale as we learned from our mistakes in order to be more efficient next time. We also got the chance to practise teamwork and specialisation. In addition, we gained exposure to real world finance as we had to manage our budget effectively in order to make the most profits out of minimal costs. We also had the chance to refine our marketing and advertising skills to promote and raise awareness.
Kon Tum Committee 2
We supported two Poussières de Vie projects; Kon Tum Project Handicraft and the Pointcom Projects. Project Handicraft aims to help preserve the cultural identity of Kon Tum by making products that would then be sold. The purpose of the Pointcom Projects, the HCMC Phanh Huy Ich and Tu Xuong Pointcom projects is to help ethnic minorities to develop IT skills and be able to learn English. Our main aim was to raise awareness and funds for them. We hoped to help them in a way that wasn’t simply just giving charity, as many of the different community project groups did, because PdV was working in our project specifically to improve life for the people by allowing them to get their own education, jobs, economic stability and independence. As such, we hoped to buy items from them and get our entire funding from that, because the money would go directly to the people who worked hard for their living. We also gave them extra funds, however, from the money we raised selling these handicrafts, to help show our support.
As well as raising money for the women in Kon Tum, we wanted to raise awareness, so that people may continue to buy handicrafts from Kon Tum to sustainable jobs rather than getting money in one go.
The other project we worked with PdV on was collecting books for orphans or poorer people in HCMC and Kon Tum. By doing this, and collecting books from the school, we hoped to improve the schooling situation in Kon Tum particularly pertaining to the hospitality school that is run there, and provide young orphans in HCMC and Kon Tum with the opportunity to learn how to read.
Our main goal was ultimately fulfilled. Our group was unique in that we strived to actively help unemployed women in Kon Tum by purchasing handicrafts they have made, rather than proceed with fundraising that is unrelated to the organization. During the fundraising period, each group member tried to inform students and teachers with as much facts and underscore the impact they could have on Kon Tum by purchasing the handicrafts. As a result, we were able to kill two birds with one stone by raising awareness while fundraising. A difficulty that our group encountered was that we had to convince the PTG to provide funding for our project. Using our best negotiation skills and confidence we were able to overcome this challenge and receive enough funds for our project to run as we hoped.
We learned that good communication and collaboration within a team is very important. We divided responsibilities very efficiently and no-one felt overworked or underworked. We also learned that some members are good with public speaking, some are good at IT and others were able to apply skills they learned from other subjects. We also learned that we are compassionate individuals who are willing to help out each other when one is busy with other commitments. Moreover, we learned how to persist with our vision and were able to convince the PTG to change their minds when they rejected funding us at first.
Rather than this just being a project aiming to earn funding, it helped to develop many skills in life. As mentioned above, we greatly improved skills that are imperative in a workspace such as communication, responsibility and charisma. By working on this community project essentially by ourselves, we were able to see what working in a company or charity would be like and how teamwork is essential in projects such as these, particularly in the form of communication and collaboration. The ability to communicate clearly and confidently in public speaking will also help us in all aspects of life, from schooling to our social lives to our future workspace.
We were able to push ourselves and persist in what we were doing, showing perseverance. This again will help us in all aspects of life because we have learnt to be tougher on ourselves and push through problems that we might have thought impossible.
Together the two Kon Tum Committees raised 17,949,000VND and successfully met the aims and objectives of their well-researched and carefully crafted, enthusiastically planned programmes of awareness across the school and wider community. Inspirational!