An eye-opening experience in Indian slum
While most people know me for being a travel reporter, I have started traveling since I was a university student. Through participating in various youth organisations and international exchange programmes, I gained a lot of free (or super low cost) travel opportunities, my knowledge of this world was broadened as well. To count the most impressive one, it would the service learning trip to India, which I organized with my great mentor, Clive.
During the trip we went to a slum village in Mumbai to visit OSCAR and meet its founder Ashok. Ashok himself came from slums too, as he grew up, he witnessed how people around him went astray, and social problems like drug addiction and pre-mature marriage were everywhere. To help tackle these problems, he founded OSCAR; the aim of OSCAR was to attract children with football training and matches, on top of that, education packages were designed to guide the children to a positive direction.
To many people, India maybe an under-developed country with bad social order. However, my experience was quite different; it was nothing like what we usually see on mainstream media. What impressed me most was their optimistic attitude. Children there did not have proper football facilities, the kind of football court they have, was only a 'sandy area'. But they cherished everything they had, and dedicated themselves to every training session. From their eyes I saw determination-- they were not afraid to challenge themselves.
They believe in education, believe that knowledge can change one's destiny, and they were not afraid to take up responsibilities. Seeing them made me think, what were we doing? And what could we do?
This experience changed my mind, I started to think how I could put travel and social innovation together. I hope I can create meaning in other people's travel experiences, help them feel more about lives.
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