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We previously featured the story of a group of ACS students who raised money to rebuild a school with Happy Hearts Indonesia in Kupang. During the fundraising process and the volunteer trip to Kupang they learned a great deal about doing business, life and also about themselves. These are some of the lessons they learned.

The ACS students during their trip to Kupang

One of the great things about any school project that involves companies or organisations is that students get to apply their theoretical knowledge in the real world. Writing a business letter or proposal as an assignment is one thing. Actually sending it to a company to secure funds is a whole other responsibility. So to raise the money the students quickly had to learn how to address business leaders and communicate with them in a professional way. They became leaders themselves and learned to overcome insecurity and stage fright in order to present their ideas in front of company representatives.

“Fundraising benefits us by giving us experience on how to live in the real world and how to interact with others from different backgrounds. We learn how to handle rejections and also how hard it actually is to raise money, considering we are teenagers.” – Aurelia

According to the students they did not only learn how to interact as adults in the business world, they also learned how to work together towards a shared goal and overcoming obstacles in the process. And more importantly they have experienced a personal growth that they did not expect to happen during such a short time. What started out as a school assignment quickly turned into a passion project with the goal being to achieve the best possible result to serve children in need instead of simply finishing yet another school assignment.

This project has positively changed me and I am very grateful for that opportunity. It was one of the best experiences in my life!” – Caroline

Regarding their time in Kupang, all ACS students describe it as a very humbling and inspiring experience. And while all of them agree that the time they spent with the children and witnessing their uplifting spirit was very touching, they all have different moments that stuck with them. Aurelia shared that she was extremely moved when the children of SD Kofi sang about how grateful they were for their legs to be able to walk to school, their hands to be able to hold hands with friends and their eyes to be able to see their friends, and that it made her realize how truly blessed she was to have more than she needed to survive.

Some of them were simply overwhelmed by the positive energy of SD Kofi children, like Caroline: “The first time we saw the condition of the school, we were very sad because we knew how dangerous it is for the kids studying under the crumbly building. This made us more determined to help them. Seeing the children of SD Kofi singing and running around happily even in that condition really touched my heart. Saying goodbye to them on the last day was extremely hard, and I will never forget this experience.”

She also says it has given her a new appreciation for money and things she did take for granted.

ACS students painting the classroom walls

Helping the students of SD Kofi was across the board very rewarding for ACS students. “Just the realization that somehow somewhere someone in this big wide world can get happiness with our small act of fundraising just makes our day.” says Aurelia. Another student, Ravi calls it an “unforgettable and priceless experience” and Bryan recalls that it has brought  upon this feeling of “unexplained happiness and joy” to give back to community and seeing the fruit of their hard work.

So to all other groups who wish to fundraise, all that I say to you is: Do it. The experience you will have is priceless and no amount of money can equal it.” – Will

Fundraise and go on a volunteering trip yourself. Don’t wait, get involved today!

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