Views from the inside (and we celebrate 200 blogs!)

Post Date: Jul 29th, 2012 | Categories: Personal Experiences | COMMENT

The problem with wanting to help out strangers in need is that you can’t be too introverted, nor too young. While the latter can’t really be helped, shyness can be overcome by having a friendly and warm community, something Vision First definitely has.

My name is Jun, and I am a student about to enter Grade 10 at CDNIS. Introduced to this organization by my school’s CAS coordinator, I was apprehensive while walking up the seemingly endless flights of stairs, worried that I would be intruding on the organization’s work by being an awkward, unhelpful wallflower. Needless to say, I was wrong – every single person I have met since coming here three weeks ago has been kind, friendly, funny and embracing of quiet teenagers (namely my friend, Hilda, and I). Before volunteering here, I never recognized the plight of refugees in Hong Kong – having focused mostly on helping locals living under the poverty line prior to working here, it came as a shock that so many people were stranded here without government support.

As an organization, VF serves to provide this very support to refugees in need, collecting donations, organizing summer programs, serving meals, supplying medical facilities and much more, but I believe it does much, much more. From what little I have seen, every member, worker and volunteer here makes up a huge family of sorts, and I am so glad to have been able to work here. The work this organization does is admirable and inspiring not just because it provides things for people in need, but because it facilitates a safe environment where people from all around the world are able to talk, socialize and learn from each other, something that many charities neglect to do and provide. Instead of just providing provisional services, it helps members build experience and friendships to make their long, difficult stays in Hong Kong enlightening and worthwhile ones, giving them emotional as well as financial support. Never have I seen an organization that is run by the same people it helps, and never would I have been able to fathom this type of system existing, however my time here has truly helped me rethink old ideas on how people in need should be helped. Too often are refugees overshadowed by other areas of concern for the government, and there are very little organizations that aim to help these people, however after watching Vision First’s operations and way of helping people, I have renewed faith that one day, everyone in Hong Kong will live equally without fear of unfair prosecution.

As a volunteer, I’ve done work from designing a birthday cake for VF’s 3rd birthday to finding contact details for restaurants and fairs to making advertisements for books – it’s been a fun and enriching experience, and the awkwardness has all but dissolved. I’ve met different people, made new friends, and perhaps most important of all, been able to communicate with others without clamming up or suddenly losing the ability to form coherent sentences. Vision First is not merely an organization that helps people, it is a home, both figuratively and literally speaking. My experience here is something that I’ll carry to school as well as to life, and I’d like to wholeheartedly thank VF for providing me with this opportunity. – Jun 🙂

To me, summer consisted of sleeping in, hanging out, enjoying cold drinks in the afternoon. I didn’t think of anything more than to just enjoy the days off, and seldom even thought of the people who were struggling. This year, however, I decided to do something more worthwhile. The reason why we live the way we do is greatly impacted by the situation we were born in. I was lucky to be born a Hong Kong citizen, where the government provides protection for us. However, many are not as lucky as I was, and instead come from countries where their leaders do little or nothing to care for them. Refugees deserve help, from everyone who is able to do so. I wanted to do something to make a difference, no matter how slight, and just provide my efforts in helping a cause I believed in. Everyone is capable of caring for and helping others. My name is Hilda and I am a grade 9 student at the Canadian International School of Hong Kong. Today is the fourth week I have been volunteering at Vision First, a local nonprofit organization that provides aid and support for refugees. I hope what I have done, no matter how minor or insignificant in the grand scheme of things, will be able to contribute to helping refugees better conditions than they are in right now. Everyone has the power to change something; with combined efforts even minor aid can really become something grand. I am extremely grateful to have been able to work here and help refugees in need. – Hilda