Hi everyone! I’ve been really honoured to be part of the pioneer batch of the Design for Good programme. I’ve learnt so much from this programme, and to accurately put all the lessons learnt and experiences gained down into words would be virtually impossible.
However, I’d like to share 2 main takeaways from this programme that have changed me in ways that I have never imagined.
#1: The opportunity to have my jewellery designs brought to life from scratch with Saught.
Having been interested in design all my life, it means so much to me to be able to have any opportunity with design. I’ve never been in an arts school, and the only design background I had was from graphic design – self-taught Adobe Photoshop skills and lots of learning from online design communities and resources. Much less to say, I had entirely no background in Jewellery Design.
However, I have never felt lost in this journey with Project Skillseed and Saught. Guidance and guidelines were given to ensure that we knew exactly what not to do, making the brainstorming and creative thinking process much easier. After several meet ups and discussions with my Team mate, Wei Shuang, we were able to come up with our collection – a collection featuring a hand drawn star.
Being at the Saught workshop surrounded by artisans blazing their blow torches away at a piece of metal on their own tables felt so surreal. Our artisan is Ravin, and even though it was hard to communicate exactly what we wanted to see or change in the model she made, eventually with the help of a Saught staff who is well-versed in English and Khmer (as well as our tour guide) we were able to come up with a model of each of the pieces in our collection. It wasn’t an easy process because of the language barrier as well as the nature of our design, but we’re glad we’ve achieved what we have together.
It’s not every day where you get to see pieces of metal heated up till they become malleable and red-hot right in front of your eyes; and it’s simply amazing just being able to witness how our star was translated from drawings on paper to an actual piece of jewellery.
This was a very significant point in my life because it was the closest I've been with Design. Being able to experience what it's like to actually be a Designer, to be there through each and every step in the production process and being able to share the fruits of my labour while doing something I truly enjoy with my family and friends - this has strengthened me and given me courage in pursuing what I truly want out of life.
The theme for our design collection is Courage - to give courage through our jewellery. Unexpectedly, this process of wanting to give others courage has also given me the courage I never knew I needed. To me, this process of self-discovery and the entire Saught experience itself has changed me in way I never expected myself to.
#2: The opportunity to meet other social enterprises and learn about how they are helping Cambodia.
Throughout the whole of this trip, almost every place we visited were social enterprises - even down to where we have our meals! Visiting social enterprises, learning more about social enterprises and how eager each of them are to help the people of Cambodia is exceptionally inspiring. Meeting people heading these social enterprises made this trip even more fruitful.
I've been moved by how much the people in the social enterprises are geared by how they want to help the people in the community, instead of just thinking about making profits and being a sustainable enterprise. Their every action leads back to the people they are helping, the social cause they want to support, and this made me question my idea of a business that has been shaped by what I've learnt in University as a Business Marketing student: is it more important to make profits, or is it more important to help others?
To be perfectly honest, it’s very hard not to feel inspired in Cambodia; to feel inspired to do something, inspired to help somebody, inspired to make change. I've learnt that there is so much more to life than grades, making money, being ahead of your peers and competition. There isn't a need for competition if you choose to help others in the process, and there definitely is more value and joy in helping others instead of competing against others.
If you are on the fence about joining this programme at the moment, don’t be. I assure you – you won’t regret going for this programme. This programme can change you – like how it’s changed me to be more courageous to pursue my lifelong dream.