Fresh out of university, while some of her peers were taking holidays, job-hunting or starting on their first jobs, Jade Yip wanted to do more. She packed her bags, stepped out of her comfort zone in Hong Kong and went on her first overseas volunteering trip to Myanmar.
There, she taught orphans and young children simple English via interactive classes and helped build a road up a mountain. The experience left a profound impact on her. It renewed her passion for helping others – she used to be active volunteer in high school but stopped after – and shaped her views on volunteering.
“I was inspired by the trip coordinator’s passion for the children. And getting to interact with the kids made me realise the value of such connections!” she says.
“It’s wrong to think the beneficiary must be suffering or living a miserable life, and we are saving them,” she adds. “All the children in Myanmar were happy even though they did not have much resources. They treasured what they had. That’s something I learnt from them.”
At the young age of 25, Jade is now a member of DBS Hong Kong’s Technology & Operations team and Force for Good champion. She handles group cohesion activities and organises all the department’s volunteering activities.
“I’m especially passionate about the environment and the elderly because these are often not the most popular causes,” she says. She once got her colleagues to join an event organised by a local charity to teach the elderly how to use VR headsets. “I wanted to show how working with the elderly can be fun!”
Jade’s department also volunteers with Food Angel, a food rescue and assistance programme launched in 2011 by Bo Charity Foundation in Hong Kong. “They collect excess food from different sources such as wet markets or supermarkets. We then go to their central kitchen regularly to pack hot meal lunchboxes for beneficiaries.”
"Even though my colleagues work different shifts due to the nature of their job, they are always willing to spend extra time or use their time off to volunteer,” says Jade, adding that these activities help them relax together outside of work too.
“I learnt from a young age that volunteering is a continuous behaviour, not a one-off action,” says Jade, who first started with flag days and visits to centres for the elderly when she was in middle school. She later started a social service group to organise different volunteering activities for her schoolmates in high school.
“I believe volunteer work is not just about empathising with or giving resources to those in need. It’s also a learning journey for us,” she says. “Activities are only the trigger to get people to start caring about a social issue.”