One of the very first things that Yukoner Liam Campbell did when he arrived in India was land himself an invitation.
“Within two hours of me landing in India, I was invited to a wedding,” he says.
He very well couldn’t say no to an opportunity like that. How often do you get invited to a complete stranger’s wedding in a foreign country?
“Well the crazy thing was… the very next day I was invited to another wedding!”
When Campbell speaks of his time in India, he tells story after story that leaves you inspired. He was 19 and India was the first place he travelled to internationally by himself. You can tell his experience significantly influenced him into who he is today.
And he didn’t just go to India to explore. Campbell went to work as an English teacher at the Gyan Jyoti School in West Bengal.
Working with the Himalayan Education Lifeline Program, Campbell found his way to this tiny school with 90 students in eight different grades, but with only six teachers.
In a country where both government and private school systems are underfunded, Campbell felt he could help the community.
Being a tiny school with minimal resources, Campbell felt he could assist a bit more for them. The school had recently been equipped with electricity and needed more room for the increasing number of students attending there.
So Campbell decided to form a non-governmental organization called the Gyan Jyoti School Building Society. He hired an engineer to design an expansion to the school while he was there, and now he’s raising $20,000 to pay for the expansion.
“I’m very fortunate and was given a lot of opportunities given where I was raised and my upbringing,” he says. “It didn’t feel right to squander those opportunities.”
Being only 21 years old and already having founded an NGO, people are very supportive about what he is doing. And while he is grateful for the appreciation he receives, Campbell doesn’t like focusing the attention on himself. He would much rather talk about the school itself, the teachers and the students there and the volunteers who are helping him.
Asked on why he’s doing it, Campbell says he couldn’t find any local role models growing up.
“I was always looking for a role model I could look up to. But after a while I realized it was silly to wait to find one, I just went ahead and did what I wanted. Young people can accomplish amazing things in the world without realizing they have that power.”
Campbell is an example of the concept be the change you wish to see in the world.
The Gyan Jyoti School Building Society frequently holds fundraising efforts around Whitehorse, including pub nights and bottle drives. For more information on how you can help, please visit their Facebook page www.Facebook.com/GyanJyotiSBS