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Blessing Farm Service Learning Project- How some students gave back to the community.

November 06, 2017 / by / 0 Comment
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Written by Fawad Masood Desmukh

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At 7 AM on a bright Sunday morning about 20 plus sleepy faces showed up to the lobby of Morrison Hall. They were in fact here to take a bus down to Blessing Farm in the New Territories for a day of service – the renovation of a facility used for the rehabilitation of children and elderly with disabilities.

 

It was the culmination of months of planning and preparation on part of a few Morrisonians who took the initiative to launch and drive this project to a successful resolution. Having been approached by the owner of Blessing Farm, Arthur Shek 石鏡泉先生 (BA 1972), Dr David Leung, Senior tutor at Morrison Hall, took a few students from Morrison Hall for an initial inspection of the site in Blessing Farm in May.

 

The site was being used for the treatment of elderly and children with mental and cognitive disabilities. This was being done through Chanwuyi, a Shaolin medical treatment method. The farm owner, Arthur, is a big advocate of Chanwuyi and showed us the basics of Qi and a few Chanwuyi healing movements/methods.

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The site was a barebones shed with no coverings on the side and a stone flooring – certainly not an environment conducive to effective rehabilitation.

 

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So we set the agenda:

  • Attach plastic sheets to cover the open sides of the shed
  • Spread carpeting on the floor
  • Install wooden paneling on the walls of the room
  • Fix Mosquito net of organic farm enclosure

 

After months of planning and preparation from securing sponsorship to ordering materials to doing publicity we finally had a pre-trip briefing session at Morrison Hall and we were surprised with the response. The participants came from a diverse range of backgrounds – different halls, nationalities, fields of studies and interests. And this diversity proved to be valuable on the days of service – 17th & 24th September 2017.

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Upon arriving at Blessing Farm, Arthur showed us around his farm told us of the different practices in organic farming (an example – we used organic mosquito repellant all day by crushing up leaves and spreading the liquid on our exposed areas!). Then we split up into different teams and work was underway!

 

It was slow going at first (pretty much none of us had any relevant construction experience). However slowly but surely under guidance from Arthur and the Morrison Hall student leaders the work picked up pace. The fact that the participants came from diverse fields from engineering and architecture to biology and social sciences proved to be invaluable as everyone combined their skills and knowledge to solve the problems. By the end y, as you can see our participants had completely transformed the place!

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This initiative was unique in many ways. It was a collaborative effort with students from different halls coming together to make a meaningful impact on a part of Hong Kong society. It involved a high degree of manual hard labour – something which a lot of us aren’t used to in this digital age. It was a hard few days of work, yes, but judging from all the sounds of laughter in the air I’m sure everyone had a lot of fun at the same time!

 

 

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Here’s what Yammy Cheung, a second-year mechanical engineering student from Lady Ho Tung had to say about the experience:

 

“Volunteering at Blessing Farm was really an eye-opening experience because it made me realize that there is a lot of opportunity for social work in Hong Kong. What I really enjoyed from the experience is working alongside other HKU students who live in halls different from mine (Lady Ho Tung Hall) since I mostly participate in the social service events that my hall coordinates. This experience provided an opportunity for me to learn more about how a university student can make a difference in society (however small), apply my knowledge and experience into our work, and connect with other fellow kindhearted classmates in completing this project. My hope is that there will be more similar joint-hall service opportunities in the future.”

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With this working relationship established with the Blessing Farm, more projects are in the pipeline with participants from different halls taking the charge. So, stay on the lookout for more news!

 

 

Acknowledgement

 

Thanks Morrison Hall Warden Professor Sydney Tang and hall office Christina Lo to support this initiative. Special thanks also given to HKU Cedars, Morrison Hall Education Fund and Hall Education Development Office (HEDO) to provide financial support

 

 

 



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