A multi-pronged action project spurred by interaction with refugees during the summer of 2016, led Phillip to take more hands-on and creative approaches. Read about his experiences:
“The refugee crisis is something we are not closely engaged with since we are living in Asia. However, on the opposite side of the world, there are people migrating every day risking their lives. Over the past few years, I have been engaging in refugee related volunteer work.
I came to do my Personal Project about refugee crisis when I first went to Athens, Greece for volunteer work with my church members. After first-hand experience with refugees from Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria and having opportunity to talk with them made me research more into this controversial issue. When I was there in Greece in the year of 2016 during summer vacation, I was fortunate enough to help refugees with their Organic soap business. This Organic soap business is to make sure refugees can learn how to make soaps in their own, so that in near future, they can earn money through using what they have learned in the past. I was given an opportunity to bring around 300 soaps back to Hong Kong and I was able to sell those for charity during 2017 Family Fun Fair.
After being engaged with refugees, I found that there is little action taken to alleviate this issue locally and how under concerned this topic is. At the start of Grade 11, Laurence (from Grade 11) and I decided to contact one of the refugee organisation located in Wan Chai hoping to interact with kids aged from 10-15 years old for our Student-led initiative. I believe this was an opportunity to be engaged in this issue locally. We have been doing this for about 6 months now and we are hoping that more people will join us! This is an issue close to my heart, where I began to research in my own to find ways where I can possibly be engaged directly or indirectly. On October 2017, I was able to enter ‘New York Times Essay competition’ about the on-going refugee crisis. At first, my focus was on winning the prize, but as I thought about what I have been doing for past months, I realised that this was on opportunity to express my thoughts and opinions to global audiences. I was able to incorporate my personal experience in my essay which made my essay seem rich and powerful. All of these experiences showed me the willingness for change whether its locally or globally, and I can only hope to get more involved.”