26 October 2016
Joshua Yim, one of the co-founders of Bridge to Success Education, gives Chemistry lessons to ethnic minority students. Photo: i-Cable
Joshua Yim, one of the co-founders of Bridge to Success Education, gives Chemistry lessons to ethnic minority students. Photo: i-Cable

University elites set up tutorial services for needy students

Joshua Yim, a freshman medical student at the University of Hong Kong, has set up a social enterprise to provide tutorial services to schoolchildren from grassroots families.

Yim partnered with fellow medical students Alan Tsang and Adrian Cheung to establish Bridge to Success Education, which aims to provide educational assistance to underprivileged children, i-Cable reports.

The company is currently serving 30 to 40 students living in subdivided flats or receiving Comprehensive Social Security Assistance.

They recruit volunteers who garnered top results in Hong Kong DSE exams and match them with students for one-on-one tutorial lessons, which are free of charge.

Phoenix, a university student who has volunteered from the program, said tertiary students should take up greater social responsibility and provide help to the needy.

She said she wants to do her bit in dispelling the idea that knowledge and education are tradable commodities.

Yim decided to start the social enterprise because of his terrible experience in school when he was a child.

“My performance was terribly bad when I was in primary one. I got only 20 out of 100 in the Chinese language test. I almost had to repeat my study that year,” he recalled.

His parents later hired a home tutor, who was an exam topnotcher. He taught him a lot of learning and exam skills, and also served as his inspiration in deciding later to help fellow students.

When he was in Secondary Four, Yim signed up to become a volunteer tutor to underprivileged schoolchildren in Sham Shui Po.

The sense of satisfaction that he felt while participating in the project prompted him to consider doing more for the education of children. The idea was further strengthened by his discussions with like-minded students at HKU.

“My parents always remind me to think of what we can do for society,” Yim said.

When they started out with the social enterprise, they knocked on every door to tell the parents about the free tutorial service they were offering. But most of the parents didn’t take them seriously.

“It turned out only two of the 30 families we visited considered availing themselves of our service,” said Adrian Cheung, one of the company’s co-founders.

They later partnered with a church that could refer them needy students and provide them a place for conducting tutoring services, Cheung said.

After their free service became more widely known in the community, a secondary school invited them to tutor students from ethnic minorities on chemistry as they prepared for the HKDSE exams next year.

“In a normal situation, we don’t get the chance to meet up and chat with university students. So this is a good opportunity for us to know more about university life and learn more examination skills,” said Pawan, a Secondary Five student who is being tutored by Yim’s team.

“I hope this becomes a cycle so that the students we are able to help can in turn make their own contributions to society when they grow up, and the next generation will do the same thing in the future,” Yim said.

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