SAI International School represented Design For Change India at the ‘Be the Change’ (BTC) Global Conference held in Taiwan from November 30th to December 2nd, 2018, for the ‘100 Library Project’. ‘100 Library Project’ is a philanthropic initiative envisioned by students of SAI International School to support students from under-privileged schools in and around the twin cities of Cuttack and Bhubaneswar, by providing them with a fully functional library. The project also involves imparting training to teachers on book keeping and record keeping. Through demonstration they are briefed on how to conduct story telling session, make library period more interactive and productive as well as how to inculcate a love for book reading in the students. Regular monitoring and assessments are conducted at regular intervals to ensure proper outcome.
The student-led project was selected as part of the DFC I CAN School Challenge 2017, owing to the great work done by the young students. Class XII students Ayushi Mohanty and Vishnu Lohia along with Ms Jessica Patnaik, International Coordinator represented the school on this global platform.
DAY 1 Report (November 29th): Travel to Taiwan – By Ayushi Mohanty
We reach Taiwan around 12 PM local time, head to immigration and collect our baggage. We were met by BTC’s local representative, Zan. She had organised three EasyCards, allowing us to access public transportation like the speed train without any hassle. She had also arranged three separate SIM cards for our team and also provided us with the local city and public transportation maps. She gave us a brief explanation of all the important train lines and stations around the city. We took speed train from the airport to Songshang station with three stops along the way and reached our hotel, Amba. Amba is a beautiful hotel with breathtaking views of Taipei and amazing accommodation.
After taking a short trip to the nearby McDonald’s for lunch, we came back to the hotel, freshened up and took a 10 minute walk to the Raohe Night Market. The magnificence of this market is hard to describe. The colours and vibrancy of the place left us spellbound. The only inconvenience we faced was the strong smell of all the different types of food sold there. We saw all types of meat starting from chicken to octopus to shrimps and everything in between.
After spending about an hour an half in the market, we came outside and visited the extraordinarily beautiful Songshang Ciyou Temple. This historical temple was built in 1753 and is dedicated to the deity Black Faced Mazu. The temple is adorned with twin dragons facing three immortals representing health, happiness and longevity.
After such an exciting trip inside the temple, we took a break for about 10 mins and enjoyed our pretty little cheesecakes we bought in the market. We then walked down and took the longer to our hotel soaking in the city lights. We finished our exciting evening with a dinner of club sandwiches in the hotel restaurant.
DAY 2 Report (November 30, 2018): 1st day at the DFC Conference – By Vishnu Kumar Lohia
We woke up at 8.30 in the morning and got ready by 9:15 and went for our breakfast in the Hotel’s restaurant. I had pasta specially made by the chef for me in the vegetarian version. Then we met Sumedha, our coordinator from India and discussed about the event. Then we went out to the Taipei 101 which is the tallest building in the city and was the the tallest in the world up until Burj Khalifa surpasses it in 2010. It is also the tallest green building in the world. We figured out our way to the building on our own through the map we were provided by our guide yesterday and mazed our way through the metro rail. It was such a fun and exciting experience finding our way through the underground system. Jessica Ma’am gave us the map and let us make the choice it was a really great lesson for us on independence.
Then we came back to our hotel and had our lunch. Then we were greeted by our volunteer, Chloe from DFC Taiwan and we went to the venue for the main event by the Metro again. We also met the very welcoming DFC Taiwan head Katie and her team, they were lovely people. We then rehearsed for our presentation for the next day. Then we had the local special bubble tea and quickly went to the venue of the welcome party on the shuttle bus we reached there by 5:45. We had our dinner at 6:00PM which was really amazing. We also met the head of DFC from various countries and the founder Kiran Sethi. The event started at 7:00pm representatives of each country were introduced and they told everyone how they said “Together We Can” in their language. After that we had an interactive session where they bounced three gigantic balloons toward the us with TOGETHER WE CAN together written on them. It was a really fun activity. We then had the representatives of the different countries performing. We also danced on the beats of various regional songs of different countries with all the people making a huge circle. Lastly, we got a lot of pictures clicked with the people from all over the world.
DAY 3 (Dec 1, 2018): 2nd Day at the DFC Conference / Presentation Day by Ayushi Mohanty
Today was the big day. The day of the presentation was finally here. We woke up at 6AM and after trying for about 20 minutes, Vishnu was up too. We started our day super early and were done with breakfast by 7:20AM. Vishnu finally had a variety of vegetarian options and that made all of us happy. The lobby of our hotel and the restaurant was bustling with people from the DFC conference. We met up few of our friends from the Opening Ceremony and waited a while in the lobby until all of our team was there. From our hotel, we took a shuttle bus to the venue – Heping Experimental Elementary School. The decorations and the vibe around the place was so positive and so exciting. We took a couple of photos and then moved towards the entrance of the venue. The school was transformed into this beautiful place that could accommodate a 1000 people and still look so pretty.
We then moved into the basketball gymnasium. This is where the main even t was hosted. The stage was amazingly lit up and everything looked spectacular. Our host, Chloe, then brought us the headsets that would help us translate various languages to English, making it so much easier for us to enjoy the event. About 9:40AM, the event started. The crowd was so cheerful and excited that it was difficult not to do the same. I tried to be a little nervous but all that energy, made my fears vanish in a millisecond. The entire event was hosted and arranged entirely by students. The tiny little kids anchored the entire event. The event started with the presentation by team Singapore. There were several other countries that put up amazing presentations, leaving everyone in the crowd so inspired and awestruck. There were also a couple of performances by the Honor Guard and the Diabolo performance. After the presentation of 11 countries, it was our time to show the entire gymnasium what our project was and proudly represent our country and our school. Whatever feeling of nervousness we thought we were going through, disappeared the moment we heard all the loud cheers after seeing our introduction video. The presentation ran so smoothly that we ourselves were shocked. It went on spotless and everyone in the room joined us. We made everyone do Namaste, Aashayein and the Clap of Happiness. Overall, the presentation was a hit.
After our presentation, Vishnu and I headed to another room where a representative from the organizing committee had us answer a few questions about the project and conduct an interview. Then we headed to lunch and had people from many teams come and congratulate us. We asked all the country teams to sign our globe. This went on for a while before we headed to another interview. This interview also had a representative ask us a few questions and we were confident while answering them. Then we headed on to our respective workshops and they were super fun. After the event, our entire team came together and we headed to catch the local bus to start our night city tour. We reached the Tonghua Night Market around 5:00 PM and walked around for a little while and shopped for souvenirs and key chains before meeting up at a small restaurant for dinner. We had a delicious meal of white sauce pasta. Then we had an hour to shop around the night market which was buzzing with crowded lanes. Then we took a bus ride from the market to our hotel. This marked the end of the most eventful day of the entire trip so far.
DAY 4 (Dec 2, 2018): 3rd Day at the DFC Conference / Cultural Dance Performances and Workshops by Vishnu Kumar Lohia
We woke in the morning at 6.00 am and went for our breakfast at the restaurant in the hotel at 7.00 am. We went to the venue of the event at 8.15 am through the shuttle bus. We were greed by the DFC Taiwan members in a very warm way. The event started at 9.30 am sharp. We had a cultural music performance by a the Department of Xi Qu Music, National Taiwan College of Performing Arts.
We also so a mesmerizing and breathtaking dance performance by the students of the Lan Yang Dance Troupe, Spring Blossoms.
We also saw the various projects of type different countries and it was really inspiring to see. DFC Israel did a project on Loneliness. The created a “Friendship Stations” through out their school and even at a local bus stands.
Take a look at their story.
We spent a lot of time with DFC Israel and they even invited us to elp them out with their project presentation. We then had the lunch break at 12.00 noon . The lunch was delicious . We then had the farewell party where we saw videos of the event and had various interactive sessions and also shared our contact details with the students (superheros) from the various countries. Another favourite presentation was done by a small school in the outskirts of Taipei a small group of boys designed a emergency bag designed to protect your head during earthquakes which are prevalent in this part of the world the boys expressed that over 14,000 earthquakes happen each year in their area.
Take a look at their story :
After all the presentations were complete we split into workshops one on Being a Global Citizen from Understanding and Empathizing which helps in experiencing social injustice situations. Why the rich get richer and the poor get poorer? Is it their fault? What kind of help can be provided to reduce this problem.
We ended our trip with a night out to the local Mall located in front of our hotel, a short tip to a local street play and a wonderful traditional Taiwanese meal.
Finally we had the amazing opportunity to meet Kiran Bidi Sethi.
The BTC celebration honours and recognizes the young agents of change for their courage and determination to change the world around them. It also brings together students from various parts of the world to not only share their stories but also learn from each other. This year students from 56 countries will be present to showcase their projects.