Alumni Linkage — OU People

Alumni Communication & Support Alumni Linkage Past Issues July 2018 Issue Alumni Linkage — OU People

While basic necessities are indispensable to daily sustenance, education is essential to whole-person development. OUHK alumnus Wayne Chau founded Agent of Change, a widely-acclaimed social enterprise dedicated to offering the grass roots not only discounted daily necessities but also a dignified livelihood. Recent years have seen him putting more focus on tackling issues related to school children and education and actively promoting quality education.

A vision born of adversity

Arriving in Hong Kong from the mainland at the age of 12, Wayne — coming from a poor family — found himself struggling with life at the grass-roots level. As a Band-5 school student with no knowledge of Cantonese and English, he was often bullied at school and felt a keen sense of inferiority and despair. Thanks to the inspiration of a teacher at his school, he became actively involved in volunteering and, with the positive feedback from those he had helped, gradually built up his self-confidence. He went on to enter university with good public-exam results and was well on his way to carving out a successful career soon after graduation.

But still he was ever mindful of his childhood dream — to set up a foundation to give the grass roots greater choice for a better life. In 2014 he resolutely quit his job with a handsome annual salary in excess of $1 million. Partnering with Erwin Huang, of 'Rich Mate Poor Mate' (a reality show of RTHK) fame, Wayne has co-founded Agent of Change Company and Agent of Change Foundation. In addition to addressing the daily lives at grass-roots level, the promotion of quality education has also become part of their mission. 'After all, education plays a pivotal role in upward social mobility,' Wayne elaborates. He also enrolled in an OUHK Master of Education distance learning programme to broaden his horizons. 'There were serving teachers of all ages and backgrounds among my classmates. Their various concerns and expectations regarding the education system were great sources of inspiration for me.'

Forum theatre — a call to cherish life

Wayne found the 'Drama and Curriculum' course taught by Dr Jack Shu Chi-yee particularly useful and even put his learning into practice later on. With the 'forum theatre' approach, he brought life education to schools and discussed with the students the issue of school children committing suicide. The students might even be invited to play a role in the drama to reflect on their lives through the performance. Wayne himself had attempted suicide several times during childhood and, touched by the warm response of the student participants, he witnessed the power of the forum theatre. 'The students got a chance to discuss serious issues through light-hearted interaction and come up with their own solutions to the problems.' With more than 50 secondary schools about to join the programme, such power of influence will likely be kept alive in future.

Promoting quality education is a never-ending process

In search of the best quality-education model, Wayne has set his sights on a global scale by going to India to learn from the experience of Riverside School and venturing further afield to Finland. Apart from trying to introduce the Finnish education model into Hong Kong, he was looking to establish an international school in Hong Kong catering to children from a wide social spectrum, and even bring quality education to the local communities of Honduras. Coincidentally his conviction that 'a good education belongs to all' bears a striking resemblance to the educational philosophy of OUHK.