We are delighted to share a blog written by Adam Harmaein Bin Mohammad Hilmi, a student at The British International School of Kuala Lumpur who is part of a team delivering a Global Goals project for the 2018-19 Global Goals Competition.
Their project is among over 800 social action projects currently running as part of the GSL movement and we are excited to be supporting them to design and lead positive social change in their community.
Malaysia is a country blessed with the availability of freshwater resources nationwide. However, certain states like Kelantan and Sabah, for example, have communal areas which are dispatched from the national grid of water. In Gua Musang, an area in Kelantan, 400 community members have had to rely on rainwater which is critically subject to pollution and water-borne diseases. We wrote about this in an extract of our school magazine.
Furthermore, although water scarcity isn’t a common occurrence in Malaysia, it is a huge crisis worldwide in countries like Jordan, Djibouti, Yemen and many more.
When our team heard about this, we felt disheartened. How could such a large number of people lack such a basic fundamental need? Our team leader, Adam Hilmi, states that he could “empathise with the pain of thirst” from his “19-Hour long fasting experiences in Europe”.
We took it upon ourselves to contribute to this solution by learning about water purification and how difficult it was. We wished to educate people on how challenging this process is so that we can collectively appreciate our water sources and prevent wastage and pollution.
We made posters, held a science fair, spent lunchtimes researching in the school lab and evenings drawing up a potential distillation model that could ease the water scarcity crisis.
Our team, comprised of three people with different abilities:
Wing Kit Choe improved his communicative skills by suggesting our idea of a science fair to our Head Teacher. His ability to converse in mandarin also allowed him to obtain information regarding local operating NGOs.
Sangwon upgraded his professionalism through his involvements within meetings with Heads of Departments both in school and with NGOs. This has allowed him to discuss matters eloquently which was a fundamental skill he has obtained through involvement in GSL.
Adam learnt the importance of patience and determination whilst facing rejections from companies and teachers. This has allowed the team as a whole to tackle risky situations. Furthermore, research skills and critical thinking were also obtained throughout the project.
As a team, we learnt that we are actually a group of very capable students as long as we didn’t give up and continued to persevere.
We saw our biggest challenge as the logistics that needed to be accounted for our research and for the fair that was held. During the fair, we were suddenly met with a thunderstorm however our group (15 students & 2 teachers on that day) dismantled and reassembled our stalls beneath the shade in under 15 minutes. Our team leader, Adam was met with immense pressure on that day but prevailed with a smile as he shifted tables from the pouring rain.
The Next Chapter
We advise many students to take up this challenge as it is a journey which results in fulfilment and enlightenment. In fact, the reason First Light held the sustainability fair is because we wanted to educate the youth on the water purification process and water shortage crisis. We believe as a team that some of the best potential solutions to these problems may come from the youth due to their natural spark of creativity and innovation. We wanted to influence their ideas and raise awareness of the water scarcity conundrum.
In addition, First Light took the fair as an opportunity to fund some of our research and not one, but two NGOs. We did this to physically be able to provide water to those in need. We also used our meetings where we transferred fees to discuss future projects which these NGOs would take forward. We managed to influence the updated version of the “Orang Asli Water Provision – Kelantan” project by MERCY. We conveyed our research on Black Water and Grey Water and suggested that a lot of money could be saved in the treatment process of water used if we simply separated the different types of wastewater through the plumbing system within houses. This was the perfect opportunity to institute our new ideas as MERCY was tasked in building new pipelines as part of their project.
We hope many people join the fight against water scarcity as we will soon realise how interconnected each global issue is to another.
The 2018-19 GSL Global Goals Competition is now open and runs until June 2019. If you belong to one of the 700+ teams of students currently delivering a social action project as part of the competition we would love to hear from you and feature your blog and project photos on our website to inspire others.