Helping Girls Build Websites

This summer 25 students were accepted in the CSGC grants program. These grants are funded due to the generous support of the Cost, Earle/Mendillo and Workman families, who established endowment funds to support the community and public service endeavors of future generations of Deerfield students. For more information on these grants please visit: https://deerfield.edu/students/grants.

First of all, I would like to thank the CSGC for making all of this possible!

I’ve lived in Hong Kong my whole life, so I’m fluent in a few languages—English, Cantonese, and Mandarin. But in order to reach the kids that I believed needed the most exposure to technology here, I knew I’d have to create a course in Hong Kong’s mother tongue. The challenging part about Cantonese, though, is that it’s an oral language and most words can’t be written out.

I started off in July with creating videos in Cantonese, and at the same time trying to reach out to any friends that would be willing to help me promote my English course. Heep Yunn is a local girls school. Social Ventures HK was able to share my program, now named Hatch My Site, with an “old girl” (alumna), who also used to be a member of Heep Yunn’s parent-teacher association.

A week or so later, I was surprised when I was offered to share Hatch My Site with a tutoring center, Opo. One of their focuses is English and writing. Promoting the program through tutoring centers had not been what I expected, but it worked nicely as websites could be a creative take girls could use to showcase their writing.

Just a few days ago, I called my grandma from Vancouver. She asked, “is there an age restriction?” It turns out she had shared my website with her high school group chat in hopes of helping me get a few signups from her friends’ grandchildren. It resulted in a couple of her own friends actually being interested in taking my online website course. I laughed and told her that I’d be happy if they did, and would try to help them as much as I can along the way.

The most challenging part of this project was neither translating scripts from English to Chinese nor creating 40 short videos, but without question, finding people who were interested in signing up. It may have sounded easy earlier, but I learnt that, despite how my program is completely free, it was tough gaining enough trust for people to genuinely believe my courses are worth signing up for. Or in this case, another problem that came up was screen time. There were a couple of times our virtual world became a disadvantage, parents were worried their kids would spend even more time than they already did staring into computer screens.

Going into this project, I thought I was completely set on what I planned to do, but since then I have learnt to be more open-minded to the needs of the community. The coronavirus has brought so much change to the world, and now I know how important it is to adapt to these changes quickly. In the beginning, I had only been focusing on young girls, but in fact, this course can benefit the elderly too. With social distancing measures in mind, the elderly have an equally important need for a creative outlet. I believe Hatch My Site can be helpful to a lot of people, young and old, and my hope is that it’ll reach many more in these tough coming months.

—Megan Ng ’23

 

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