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<The Standard> A mission to tackle child labor

03 Jul 2019

thestandardPun Bishal and Johnson Chan have furthered their goals at HKU Space. SING TAO

Hong Kong-born Nepalese "Dave" Pun Bishal fared badly in his Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education examinations, but child labor in his native country made him realize the importance of education and pushed him to study harder to become a lawyer.

The 22-year-old has finished three years of education at HKU Space and received an offer to major in law at City University of Hong Kong after graduating the community college with a 3.57 GPA this academic year.

"I want to be a lawyer to help change lives of child workers in Nepal. They deserve a second chance," Bishal said.

Born in Hong Kong, Bishal returned to Nepal for most of his childhood, where he grew up while being taken care of by his grandparents.

A mission to tackle child labor - The Standard

"I had a stable childhood in Nepal, but I couldn't be with my parents in Hong Kong because they both had to work in order to sustain family finances. It was difficult for me," he said.

He finished his secondary education in Hong Kong, but only managed a score of 10 in the HKDSE exams. After that, he returned to Nepal and did some soul-searching.

Anxious and depressed about his results, Bishal delved into the problem of child labor in Nepal.

"A degree is just a piece of paper. That's what my father told me. But then I understood that it was up to me to make a future out of that piece of paper and I had thought it through," he said.

"Why them [the children], why not me? Those children lack resources to grow up properly and I feel the need to use my knowledge to help them one day. That is why I convinced my father to give me one more chance to study in Hong Kong."

He decided to become a lawyer and has worked towards that goal ever since.

"Hong Kong offered me academic endeavors Nepal could never give me. It took me some time to see that, but now I am more confident than ever to obtain lifelong professional skills at university to make me a better person and serve a bigger purpose," he said.

Bishal plans to stay in Hong Kong after he graduates, and has aspirations to help Nepalese children through his profession and by building schools in his native country in the future.

Johnson Chan Tsun-sing, another HKU Space graduate, is also headed for university and will major in linguistics at City University of Hong Kong. Originally, Chan had his mind set on becoming a lawyer since high school after seeing an alumnus from his secondary school share their experience of studying law.

He studied hard and his secondary school granted him an exclusive pass to the campus until 9pm on school nights.

His efforts did not match the outcome of his DSE results of 19 and forced him to switch paths.

Studying at HKU Space gave him a new perspective and he now plans to become an educator or a speech therapist.

"I think students who are waiting on DSE results right now should not view entering university as their final destination, but continue to be eager to learn. Not getting into university is not the end of the world," he said.

Date: 3 July 2019
Source: "The Standard"