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Hello! Today, we are meeting with Yan Liu, the co-founder of Power The Future an innovative project based learning curriculum that empowers school students to build up their empathy toward the world while providing underprivileged children access to solar lights. She is sharing her passion for disrupting our educational systems and training students to grow into caring and responsible adults.

 

各位安!今天我们访问的对象是「点亮未来」的共同创办人燕子。 「点亮未来」是一个创新的专案学习项目,在培育学童对他人同理心的同时,为弱势儿童展现曙光。燕子会分享她对颠覆现有教育制度,培育学生成为对社会关怀、有承担的成人的决心。

 

 

« If we teach our children the old way, we are depriving them of their future » -- John Dewey

« Education is the most powerful weapon, which you can use to change the world » -- Nelson Mandela

 

「如果我们仍然以旧有的方式教育儿童,我们将剥夺他们的未来。」──约翰·杜威

「教育是最强大的武器,以之可改变世界。」──纳尔逊·曼德拉

 

 

First, can you tell us a bit more about WHY you have started Power The Future, what problem are you addressing?

 

I started it, because I am in International Development & Relief sector and I have seen so many children that are not taken care of.  Children will be leaders of their communities and countries after we all retire.

 

Also, I am a mother and I view education as the key to stop the poverty circle. There is no better investment than investing into our children.

 

Our mission is to help 300,000,000 children suffering from energy poverty to get access to clean energy and to be able to read at night, and eventually live better lives.

 

We want all children to work together, get educational benefits, and generate a sense of global citizenship by participating in our initiative.  Caring for others is an important part of being a human being. 

 

首先,可以跟我们分享一下你创办「点亮未来」的原因吗?其主要针对的问题是什么?

 

 主因是我在国际发展与缓解事业上看见很多缺乏照顾的儿童。在我们退休之后,他们将是社群与国家的栋梁。作为一位母亲,我认为教育是终止跨代贫穷恶性循环的灵药。没有任何投资比起投资在我们的下一代身上更值得。

我们的目标是为三亿苦于能源短缺儿童提供洁净的能源,给予他们在晚间阅读所需的光源,并由此改写他们的人生。

我们渴望所有儿童能够团结一致,共享教育的成果,并从参与我们的计划当中建立作为世界公民的归属感。人之所以为人,关怀彼此是很重要的一环。

 

  

What is Power The Future? What solution do you provide?

 

Power The Future is a global educational initiative by which we connect children from developed countries and those who live off the grid and in poverty. We expose a global problem and help find solutions.  We offer teaching kits for primary schools and middle schools, as well as social service projects for high schools.  

 

It is a cross-curriculum PBL (Project Based Learning) through the ones the teachers and students can achieve both academic goals and positive impacts on children in vulnerable positions.

 

We empower children, who are the future of our planet.

 

具体来说,「点亮未来」是怎样的一个计划?提供怎样的协助?

 

点亮未来」是一个全球性的教育项目,当中我们连系了已发展国家的、与生活在贫穷之中的儿童。我们展示了一个全球性的问题,为其求取解决方案。我们为中小学提供教材,并为高中学校安排社会服务体验。

 

它是一门跨学科的专案学习,透过计划达致教学相长,加强学业的同时,在价值观薄弱的学童身上产生正面影响。

 

我们装备儿童,好让他们成为未来的主人翁。

 

 

What’s your personal background and how and why did you decided to start this adventure?

 

As I introduced earlier, I am a warrior in International Development & Relief sector, and I want to make my contribution to children who live off the grid so they can change their communities when they grow up.

My sons are the key people who made me thrive for this noble mission.  They give me inspiration and keep my passion alive so I keep on improving the project. The teachers and students are also drivers of our initiative.  They see the value in the project and continue to work with us year after year to make it better.  People’s hesitation in contributing and our failing education system are also elements that push me down the path towards excellence. 

 

可以谈一下你自身的背景吗?是什么驱使你展开这段旅程? 

 

先前提及过,我在国际发展与缓解事业上拼搏多年,我希望尽己之力为活在贫穷之中的小孩改善生活,好让他们引领未来,改变其身处的社群。

 

儿子们是令我下定决心实践使命的主因。他们给予我灵感,也助我维持初心、热情,使我有动力去不断改进计划。参与计划的师生也是坚持下去的动力。他们看到计划的意义与价值,多年来与我并肩前行,使计划得以完善。而燃起我斗志去成就这个项目的则是人们对贡献社会的迟疑与及失败的教育制度。

 

 

What's the impact you expect to have on the society and/ or environment?

 

The impacts are obvious. They are divided into 2 sides:

 

The impact on the Giving Children:

Children adopt a global view about the world, get to discover the inequalities among regions of the world, try to understand problems and find solutions, use empathy and take action in addressing global problems, etc.

Children get to discover how their efforts can actually make a difference to others in a profound way.

Children also get to review the differences in life and plant a caring seed in the heart. They are the future owners of the Earth and should learn today how to care in the way they think and act.

 

The impact on the Receiving Children:

They feel cared for and get hope for the future.

They get a global view of the world and generate dreams for themselves.  They get useful tools to assist them in their learning. Life starts to change immediately once they access our solar lights.

They stop breathing harmful smoke, cut expense on lighting and improve productivity after dark.

They learn to use sustainable energy when they are young.

They get to see that they are not left alone… 

 

你预期项目为社会与环境带来什么影响?

 

我想其影响是明显的,分为两部分。

 

对施者的影响:

儿童能从中建立放眼世界的视野,认识世界上不同世方所发生的不公,尝试理解其问题所在并作出应对,活用同理心去探究全球性的问题等等。

儿童得以认知自己的能力可以为他人作出正向的影响与改变。

他们也能因此重新审视生命与生命之间的相异处,在心中种下关怀他人的种子。他们是未来的主人翁,需要从小学习如何在思想和言行上体现对他人的关怀。

 

对受者的影响:

他们确切感受到他人的关怀,重燃的未来的希望,也能因此放眼世界,开始建立自己的梦想。在项目中,他们得到辅助学习所需的工具,在接触到日光的一刻,他们的生命再不一样。

他们不再呼吸有害的烟尘,减低照明的成本,大大提高入夜后的生产力。

他们从小学会应用可持续发展的能源。

计划让他们认知到自己并不孤单……

 

 

What is the biggest accomplishment of Power The Future? 

 

We are most proud of being a powerful education vehicle that connects all children and teachers.  We make teaching and learning engaging, fruitful, and impactful.  It is a genuine PBL project that schools need in today’s teaching.

 

We are very excited about our middle school project taking root in UK and USA.  This is the second best accomplishment for us in 3 years.  We are seeing appreciations from teachers, students and families.

  

「点亮未来」最大的成就是什么? 

 

我们以作为有力的教育组织,连系所有师生为傲。我们使教与学变得双向、有意义、有果效。这是今天的学校教育真正需要的教育项目。

 

仅次之,过去三年最大的成就是我们的初中项目得以在英美扎根。我们从师生与家庭间见到正面的回馈与认同。

 

 

What’s the biggest challenge you went through since you have started? 

 

Our biggest challenge was from people who did not share the same vision of the initiative.  The public schools stick to their old fashion teaching methods and refuse to adapt even though they saw the benefits for the children. There is lot of work to be done with the current education system to turn our children into curious learners and problem solvers rather than exam machines.

 

We have just got a mature system that works for schools.  Our next step is to raise awareness and get more schools on board.

 

 开始以来面对最大的挑战是什么? 

 

答:我们最大的障碍是与我们理念相异的人。服膺旧制度的公立学校明知项目将为学童带来的好处,依然拒绝与我们合作。在现有制度之中有很多地方可以改善,使儿童成为更有好奇心的学习者,学会解决问题,而非成为冰冷的考试机器。

 

我们刚建立了一套适合学校的成熟制度,下一步将是提高公众的认同,吸引更多学校参与。

 

 

Any new exciting projects coming soon?

 

We are trying to launch our field trips for high school students, so they can go visit the off-grid communities physically and accomplish their social studies.  As all G12 students who apply to top universities have to show their social achievement, our community work package will be highly appreciated by the students and their parents. We are already working with coaches and professors in Asia, Africa, and South America to be ready for our curious students. 

 

We want to bring more solutions to schools that are based on solar energy so the education in science will become comprehensive and more engaging.  For example, solar cookers use the heat of the sun so we save trees from being cut for cooking.  Solar pumps bring water to villages so we save underprivileged kids 2-5 hours per day from fetching water and reduce risks from the wild animals.

  

短期动向?

 

我们正在尝试安排高中学生的实地考察,让他们从第一身接触贫穷社群,并实践其社会学习。有意报读顶尖学府的第十二级学生皆需展示他们的社会成就;我们的社群服务计划将极受学生与家长的欢迎。我们已联系来自亚洲、非洲与南美洲的导师与教授,准备好为好奇心旺盛的同学们服务。

 

我们希望为学校带来更多与太阳能有关的资讯与应用项目,使科学教育变得更全面而双向。举例说:使用太阳热能的饭煲能使树木免于被砍伐;太阳能的水泵能更有效率地将食水运送到村落,为贫穷儿童节省每天二至五小时长途跋涉取水的时间,并减低被野生动物袭击的风险。

 

 

If you could wish for one thing that could help you have a greater impact tomorrow what would it be? 

 

We would love a boost by a foundation or CSR budget to help us spread the project among schools so that more children will get the opportunity to enjoy our projects.

 

假设给你一个愿望,明天可以得到一样事物有助你的项目带来更大影响力,那会是什么东西? 

 

我们渴求基金或社会责任企业的资助,协助我们在学校间宣传,使更多学童有机会参与我们的项目,享受其带来的好处。

 

 

Which person or which project has been or is a great source of inspiration in your job or in your life? 

 

#1 James Fraser, my co founder has been my best friend and back up.

#2 Shanghai High School International Division is my favourite school.  They are not only strong supporters but also real pioneer educators.

#3 Mr. John Wang, best friend and strong supporter.  He not only helps the project grow in China, but also helps it take root in USA.

#4 Ms. Jessica Hauffman, an excellent educator from the French school in Shanghai.  She did amazing work on her middle school project that inspired a lot of teachers.

#5 NACIS, our great partner school since the start of our project.   They have a dynamic young faculty that is giving the children the best education they need.

#6 Energy Divisio of Asia Development Bank has been a major drive in our growth.

#7 Rosie May Foundation

#8 SAHAS Nepal

……

There are many more great people and organizations we want to mention here…… the list will go on for 10 pages!

 

哪些人和项目是你生活和工作上的最大的启发? 

 

第一位是James Fraser,我的共同创办人、最好的朋友和后盾。

第二位是上海中学国际部,我最爱的学校。他们不只是强力的支持者,更是真正的教育先驱。

第三位是Mr. John Wang,也是最好的朋友与强大的支持。除了项目在中国的成长,他也协助项目扎根美国。

第四位是Ms. Jessica Hauffman,上海法国学校的出色教育家。她在中学进行的教育项目启发了不少教师。

第五位是上海诺德安达双语学校,自项目开始便长期合作的好伙伴。他们年轻、充满活力的团队给学童们所需的最好的教育。

第六位是亚洲开发银行的能源分部,我们成长的主要助力。

第七位是Rosie May Foundation

第八位是SAHAS Nepal……

 

太多太多的伟大的人物和组织想要提及,表列起来大概要花上十页。

 

 

Related article:

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"Ice Boy" And China's Left-Behind Children

 

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