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Creative Mindset in the Combat Against Poverty

Interviewee: Professor Chau Ying

Editor: Ness Ma (Communications Officer)

SIGHT (Student Innovation for Global Health Technology) is a platform in the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) where students try to conceive of and implement solutions for a variety of medical issues in resource-deprived areas.

Professor CHAU Ying is the project director who also teaches in the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering of the HKUST. She could have stayed in school to teach and do research like the others, but she would rather take her students to the field, into the slums and mountains of poor countries, and serve the locals with science, skills, and creativity. Why did she take this path?

Photo from SIGHT website

Professor Chau has always been concerned about global health issues. In her interview with CEDAR, she mentioned that the only reason the locals of the poor areas have to go through all the hardships is that they were born there. It is an injustice. For her, prayer alone is not enough; there should be action.

In 2014, the opportunity presented itself. The universities in Hong Kong had just switched to a four-year curriculum. She saw that there was room for change and action, and with the support of the vice-president at that time, she was even more certain that the Lord had opened the way for her. Then, she set up the platform SIGHT to lead students to serve the poor.

The way she and her students help the poor is by understanding their needs through dialogue and using different technologies and designs to address their difficulties. For instance, she once led students to Cambodia to aid a medical team of a local NGO. The medical team needs to collect and record information about their beneficiaries during their service in the slum. However, it is hard for them to access the Wi-Fi. Therefore, the students came up with a mobile app to aid information collection. They also developed a mobile Wi-Fi device and assembled a mobile medicine chest to make it more convenient for the medical team to carry around. 

Photo from SIGHT website

Inevitably, there were hard times. In the interview, she shared with us: that once, she took students to Guizhou for site visit, during which she fell ill, and the students took care of her. When she saw that the students had understood the needs of the poor locals and applied what they had learned to help them with design and technology, she felt God‘s will in it. She is pleased to witness the growth of her students.

After knowing the SIGHT platform and the effort of Professor Chau in leading students to care for and solve problems for the disadvantaged, are you inspired by their new ways to help the poor? It does not always have to be distributing food or donating. Try to discover what gifts the Lord has given us, and then apply them with creativity. We are also able to come up with an inspiring ministry against poverty.