Education: A Right, Not A Privilege

Mar 16, 2020   |   Yap Xiao Hui

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Education is not a privilege, but a basic human right (according to the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights). It is an empowering tool that progresses personal growth and diminishes discrimination among all – especially youths. Some parts of the world still experience inequality in access to education because of resource limitations.

Heartware Network and Grace Methodist Church firmly believe that everyone deserves equal ­­access to education, regardless of their socioeconomic status. Because of this shared belief, we joined hands to award bursaries for eligible Heartware volunteers in the hopes of lightening their school-related expenses.

Our ultimate resolution is to provide our youths with equal opportunities to facilitate their development into great leaders of our tiny nation. We aspire to help them as much as they have helped us, as much as we can.

That is why two Nanyang Junior college students were chosen as recipients for their exemplary volunteerism during Heartware – National Day Parade (HW-NDP) Hospitality Management 2019: Lai Car Man and Velayutham Karthikeyan.


Growing with Heartware

Before becoming Heartware volunteers, Car Man and Karthik were always hiding within their comfort zones. But they managed to break out of their shells, crack by crack, throughout their time with us at Heartware.

“After joining HW-NDP 2019, I knew that I had made the right choice.”

As someone who is passionate about learning, Car Man was initially worried that volunteering would affect her studies.However, the people she met and skills she gainedcleared her concerns and made the entire experience worthwhile.

She explained, “Due to my personality, being in a crowd really terrifies me but I’ve become more outspoken after volunteering with Heartware. This was especially because my work required me to interact with the members of the public”

“After joining HW-NDP 2019, I knew that I had made the right choice.” Car Man is pictured on the far right of the 2nd row.

Like Car Man, Karthik was shy around strangers at first. However, as a HW-NDP volunteer, it was necessary for him to interact with diverse groups of individuals over multiple training sessions and deployments. Such situations pushed him out of his comfort zone, leading to drastic improvements in his communication and adaptability skills. As a result, his horizons were broadened and confidence was boosted.

Today, Car Man and Karthik have fully come out of the comfort of their shells. They are now prepared to serve the nation and community with a heart, equipped with the valuable experiences and interpersonal skills gained from interactions with fellow volunteers and the general public.

“It was my pleasure becoming friends with my groupmates,” Car Man stated. “The time spent with them was so enjoyable that when the actual parade ended, I actually found it weird to not be at the Padang on a Saturday evening.” Car Man revealed that although their busy schedules make it difficult for them to meet up, her HW-NDP group still keeps in touch over Whatsapp.

Not only were they able to gain and improve their skills, Car Man and Karthik were also able to establish meaningful relationships with the community they serve and peers they work with within a short duration of time. The bonds forged and skills gained remained strong even beyond the volunteering period. Truly, they have evolved into community champions that serve with a heart.

Karthik concluded, “Overall, volunteering HW-NDP 2019 was a very fruitful experience.”

“Overall, volunteering HW-NDP 2019 was a very fruitful experience.” Karthik, pictured 4th from the left on the 2nd row, posing coolly with his HW-NDP group behind the Padang.


Giving back to our volunteers

Normally scholarships are awarded for academic achievements, rarely for volunteering. Nevertheless, being good at studying is not the only way to get a scholarship. Another way could also be through serving the community.

To show our appreciation for their time and effort contributed, Heartware Network and Grace Methodist Church partnered up to recognise the achievements and praiseworthy volunteerism of Car Man and Karthik as a valid form of merit.

Karthik exclaimed, “Upon hearing about the bursary via Heartware, I was really surprised.” Due to the rarity of such bursaries, Karthik joined Heartware as a HW-NDP volunteer without any prior knowledge of the bursary, but with the heart to serve our nation.

Heartware has provided them with such opportunities of development because we are always striving our utmost best to assist each and every one of our youths – no matter who they are, or where they are from. We aim to do so by empowering and uplifting youths during their growth into future leaders of the community. For this reason, we are quick to secure opportunities that arise for us to give back to our volunteers, for them to progress in their personal growth and further pursue their passions.

“Acquiring new knowledge and performing experiments never fails to bring me joy,” Car Man gushed. “Since my days in secondary school, I have had a strong passion in science. I see myself in chemistry or biology-related fields in the future.”

Despite her overwhelming passion for learning the sciences since long before obtaining the bursary, Car Man faced difficulties in obtaining study-related materials because of tight family expenses. “The financial burden on my parents has lessened as I can now ask for less allowance.”

Because of the bursary, she can now continue to chase her dreams in the scientific realm with reduced anxiety about financial obstacles. And this is how Heartware and Grace Methodist Church envision the future of our youths: a future where the gaps in unequal access to education are bridged, especially for those who are less advantaged. A future where education is a right available to all.


Future plans

After graduation, Car Man and Karthik plan to continue contributing back to society in their own special ways.

“Many people have told me that the style of learning in university is more self-directed and hence, students will have more control over their time,” Car Man said. “Hence, after graduation, I’m planning to contribute back to society by volunteering in more events.”

Meanwhile, Karthik aspires to pursue a course in the healthcare sector, where his passion lies,and give back through serving the vulnerable.

“If there’s any amount of the bursary left, I will donate it to someone else who needs it, just like me,” Car Man promised.

“I would like to end off by thanking Heartware for sharing about this bursary with me. It will definitely be of great help for me in pursuing my studies.”

Karthik expressed, “Once again, I thank Grace Methodist Church and Heartware Network for providing me with this wonderful opportunity.”