Name: Thiha Thway
From: Chicago, New York
Grade: college freshman
School: Illinois Institute of Technology
Different people with different origins, races, and religions have one in common. That is we all have been born together with loving hearts; however, the strengths may vary. The stronger loving kindness, the greater one’s standard. One thing important is that ‘standard’ means ‘ruler’ of one’s happiness in life. Volunteering is in such manner.
For me, ‘volunteering’ means ‘donation of physical or intellectual strength which is based on loving kindness’. I have been
well-trained to try to have loving kindness by my parents since my childhood. Since I was 10, I have been volunteering at least twice a year. The areas I focus on volunteering are teaching and upgrading mental strength since education and mind are the most crucial treasures in life.
I volunteer twice per year in June and December, about 42 hours per week for two weeks in one volunteer event. Most places I volunteer are orphanages and monasteries in which children are finding very difficult to attend to school. Usually, I teach them both textbooks and general knowledge to keep them connected to the modern world. I take my laptop computer,
show them interesting facts, and teach them not only relating facts but also how to use computer. Since there are hundreds of children, I have to divide them into small groups to teach effectively. Although I have to take much effort in teaching children who are unfamiliar with modern technology, they are very obedient, taking notes, memorizing them, and discussing with me what they do not understand.
The task I do before teaching them is upgrading their mind since I understand how much they’re losing heart in the absence of parents. I tell them, “You have been born alone, and you have to die alone. There is nothing to depend on other people. Therefore, keep fighting cruel vicissitude alone. In this moment, on this day, your lives will surely be heydays if you don’t surrender!” I can feel their eyes become brighter and their heartbeats become faster. I also give them snacks in break time to eat. After teaching them for 6 hours per day for 2 weeks, I give them examination papers and award valuable books to 20 children who get highest marks. I also tell those children to share books after they read. It is very satisfactory to see them
studying very hard, listening to me with bright eyes, and being very obedient.
Although it can be said my volunteering periods are small (only about 168 hours/year), they can surely help hundreds of orphanages to be open-minded and ambitious. Since “Many bricks make a great building”, I am sure after adding 168 bricks per year, I will get the Great Wall that can help upgrade lives of hundreds of children after about 30 years later. That is what I see my activities as ‘forward-looking’ since they seem to be small at first but after long period, small activities will make great effect. Let’s build a brighter world by taking part as a brick!