A group of alumni from Wah Yah College have decided to give back to their community by teaching English to underprivileged kids in Hong Kong through their project called Tin Shui Was English Tuition Project.
High Expectations from Kids
Hong Kong has an educational system that puts a lot of importance to exams, and because of that, many students and parents believe that attending after-school programs would help them get better grades. However, for many children in poor families, this seems more like a luxury, as private tutorials are often expensive, making them feel left behind compared to their peers whose parents can afford it.
The Spirit of Giving Back
The group that started the Tin Shui Wai English Tutorial Project was inspired to begin the program after realizing that they wanted to give back to their society. Most of them were in their fifties at the time, and some have already retired. They thought of what they can do to help society after retiring, and realized that having good English skills is common for them—something that they could all offer.
The City of Sadness
Tin Shui Wai was called the city of sadness after news reports of suicides committed by students because of academic pressure. This isn’t unheard of, sadly, as it also exists in other countries. Unfortunately, not only do the city’s students experience immense pressure to perform well in schools, the city’s overall academic performance also lags behind compared to other districts, especially in English.
Humble Beginnings and Challenges
The group started with twelve tutors in 2015. They taught eighty students. After two years, the program was able to help more than 600 students, thanks to sixty volunteers.
Students from the area often lag behind in English so much so that despite being old enough to earn their diplomas for finishing secondary education, they still cannot construct English sentences by themselves.
English Tuition and Beyond
Despite these challenges, the volunteers continue to persevere, and teach the students the importance of learning English and how it would help them in the future.
Now, it has expanded to helping students in more than ten schools and they did not stop in teaching English either. They also assist students in career planning.
The tutors hope that beyond learning the language, the students learn valuable life lessons in their classes that they could use later in life.