Crossing borders for that learning experience

Amutha Kannan
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Huitong Wang from China with children of Saranalayam
Huitong Wang from China with children of Saranalayam

She has come all the way from China to Coimbatore to experience life in a non-Governmental organisation. And, this, 20-year-old Huitong Wang has done voluntarily and at her own expense.

Her stay at ‘Saranalayam’ – a home for orphan children, destitute, aged, mentally challenged, and HIV positive – in Kinathukadavu is not part of her business administration course or is a way to fetch her marks for any community service activity. She is here on an AIESEC internship.

Said to be one of the world’s largest youth-run organisation, “it offers young people the opportunity to participate in international internships, experience leadership and participate in a global learning environment”. When Wang realised the urge in her to do something for the community, she wanted to first observe and learn how an NGO functioned. Having learnt about “how developed NGOs were in India” from some seniors who had come to India on such internships, she applied to AIESEC. The organisation chose ‘Saranalayam’ for her.

Under the memorandum of understanding inked between AIESEC and ‘Saranalayam’, Wang is the second student to intern. The first was a student from the United States, and once Wang completes, another student from Japan is expected to start the internship.

Wang is all excited about her 40-day internship. Though she involves herself in all the units of the NGO, she prefers to spend a large part of her time with the children. She teaches at ‘Third Eye’, a learning centre for autistic children in the mornings, and in the evenings she spends time with the orphan children. She also helps with the painting, cleaning, gardening, and spends time with the elders during her spare time.

Wang has overcome many barriers – food, language, habits – to make herself one with the inmates of ‘Saranalayam’.

According to N. Vanitha, chairperson of ‘Saranalayam’, she follows a strict time-table. Periodical feedback about her activities is given to AIESEC.

Sharing her experience, Wang says: “I am amazed at the professional way the charitable work is managed here. It is beyond my expectation. The NGOs in China are run by celebrities. It is next to impossible for a common man to start one because of the many Government restrictions.”

Her long-term goal is to start an NGO of her own. She believes that this experience will help her take the first step in achieving this.




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