Little big shot leads the way

Starting and running a social enterprise is not just for adults anymore. While she may be just a 12-year-old about to enter secondary school, Chloe Wong embraced the pandemic’s new normal and set up an educational social enterprise to help grassroots children facing learning difficulties.

“Some grassroots families may not have printers at home, and the parents may not have the relevant knowledge or the time to answer their children’s questions because they have to work,” she said at the launch ceremony of the Social Enterprise Summit 2020, where she spoke as a guest.

“All these factors hurt studying at home during the pandemic. They really want to change, but there’s nothing they can do.”

As one of the brighter students of her class, many fellow classmates had turned to her for homework help when classes became suspended in January, setting her off on the journey of helping others.

When she later heard that Wah Yan College teamed up with 23 schools to donate 4,000 masks to vulnerable groups, she realized that even students could lend a helping hand to play a greater role in society.

“Helping others is not just for adults,” said Wong, who started a YouTube channel in February. Her first video, a 10-minute lesson on how to study English using the OneNote app, has since drawn approximately 5,000 views.

But when the Education Bureau announced the cancellation of the third internal exam for the Secondary School Places Allocation on February 13, she began to worry that her videos would improve her peers’ performance and she may no longer stand out among the class.

However, she soon found that the process of teaching others had allowed her to spend extra time on the material, so she became even more familiar with the subjects.

“It’s just like how before the pandemic, Hongkongers did not like to share, but now people are donating masks,” she said. “If there are not enough resources, we have to share.”

The further suspension of schools and the cancellation of the SSPA later made her realize how severe the pandemic was.

“It seemed like school wouldn’t reopen for a long time, and it was hard to help more students on my own,” Wong explained.

So she founded KidShare, a nonprofit platform that brings together peer teachers who can share their learning experiences and provide guidance to students in need.

Through an open-source Google Form, the platform brought together more than 20 peer teachers from 14 different schools.

They regularly shoot YouTube videos and hold online Zoom classes, mostly to help with homework and to share knowledge about Cantonese culture.

Wong said one lesson she learned through setting up KidShare was caring for others and uniting with them.

Erwin Huang, a serial social entrepreneur and founder of educational project Dreamstarter, spoke with Wong at this year’s SES launch ceremony and agreed that cohesive power from society helps social enterprises make their living so they can continue contributing to society.

“Under the new normal, children are learning online and adults are holding their meetings online,” Huang said. “In our plans for working with schools, we also have tips on how to attract students in online classes – a momentum that benefits both sides.”

Themed “new normal, collective power,” this year’s SES will be held from November 19 to 21. Hosted online for the first time, registration for the international symposium will be free.

The summit will focus on four key areas – community empowerment, digital social innovation, sustainability and business as well as education innovation.

More than 70 leaders and social innovators from the United States, Australia, the Philippines, Indonesia, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand as well as Hong Kong and mainland China will be featured over the three-day, 20-session event.

Said Rebecca Yung, chairwoman of the SES organizing committee: “When the world is going through a turbulent time like 2020, collective power is called for to gather forces from the civil society, businesses, policymakers and academia through dialogues and actions for cocreating a new normal ahead.”

(This article was published at The Standard on September 22, 2020: Education: Little big shot leads the way )

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