Written by Abigail Chifusa, Global Schools Project Officer
Early this year, Global Schools Program (GSP) Advocate from Hong Kong, Rafi Cristobal, was honored to receive the “Outstanding Social Caring Young Leadership Award” from the Social Enterprise Research Academy (SERA), an organization aiming to create a cross-sectoral platform amongst the business, academia, social and political sectors to foster social responsibility and sustainable development in Asian communities.
Through the award, SERA recognized Rafi’s work in the Harbour School Hong Kong to promote and integrate community service and sustainability education into the operations of the school and overall in the K-12 sector.
Rafi’s hopes and ambitions are to instill life-changing practices in young people and to create awareness in young people of sustainability as they choose their different careers.
Rafi says, “We aspire to inculcate an awareness and conscious life-long practice of social responsibility and sustainability among the young generation early on and to carry on inspiring others in whatever chosen profession they take in the future.”
Rafi, who is also the Director of the Social Impact and Sustainability Program (SISP) at the Harbour School (THS) in Hong Kong, aspires that his passion and experience in leading a long-term school-wide movement and program on community service and sustainability would give insight and inspiration to the other educators. He advised that “an action-oriented plan for social impact and sustainability in a school set-up is feasible and can bring about meaningful change.”
His role as a GS Advocate since September 2021, during the 2021-22 cohort, inspired Rafi, together with his colleague, Handrich Hernando-former advocate alumni-, to lead, advocate and promote the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) to the next generation and to the wider community.
In his journey, Rafi has been able to implement sustainability on a whole-school approach on community service and sustainability. In 2019, he started Project Hope (with two equally community service-oriented co-teachers), which aimed to cultivate interest in community service and inspire volunteerism at THS. His project began as a small school club and later received a lot of support from the school community - students, teachers, and parents were asking to be volunteers, and it became a school-wide movement. Project Hope mobilized the school community to engage in community service events through simple classroom activities that are naturally occurring, part of the school, and integral to students' learning process. Read more here about Rafi’s work.