Interactions between Middle School Students and ChangemakerXChange Entrepreneurs
“Three problems we face in the world today. First, your pursuit of happiness and self-actualization is unfortunately limited and determined by the bank account that your parents own and the nation that you were born into, something that you never had an option to choose. Problem number two. You’re given expectations to be spontaneous, creative, innovative, geniuses, but are given education that is rigid and strict in form. Lastly, we live in a world of the 2017 icon of non-communication, Donald Trump.” - Hye Won, Ashoka Changemaker.
Ashoka’s aims of empowering youth to “be the change [they] wish to see in this world” showed through the unique perspective and project of each individual social entrepreneur of the ChangemakerXChange.
Invited by Robert Bosch Stiftung and Ashoka, these 20 young social entrepreneurs who ranged from 19 years to 29 years old and came from different countries in Asia engaged with an inspired audience at the Changegeneration; Young Changemakers Showcase in Singapore. Interestingly, 75% of these social entrepreneurs started a new venture in their teens.
The program’s aim to inspire action for tackling social problems through a platform of discussion and connection was perhaps best embodied in the section where middle school students ranging from 13 years to 15 years old from UWCSEA (East Campus) connected with the young social entrepreneurs to discuss problems in setting up and continuing changemaking work.
Everything from logistical details to moral decisions was discussed, and the atmosphere in the room remained vibrant and bold, that of a rapidly growing and improving global society.
Discussions with students in smaller groups illustrated mutual understanding despite educational and cultural differences.
It encouraged the introduction of new, challenging perspectives, and a combination of both the Ashoka and the UWCSEA mission, uniting people for positive change.
The students posed questions regarding setting up their own social enterprise, service projects they were a part of, and investigated how they could build and develop existing programs.
“How do you find your passion and how to achieve it?”
“How could we ensure people get what they need?”
“My concern is for the Enterprise I'm starting; I'm always plagued with the fear of failure”
“There are rising controversial issues between kids and parents about religion. What are you doing to make people aware?”
“How do you get competitive people to work together?”
The search for solutions to these and many more such genuine challenges and concerns was a deeply meaningful time for all participants. One quote from a 14 year old finally summed it up;
“You cannot always please everyone, but you got to do what you are driven by.”