Paris Zhuang Shows her True Colors in Nepal

Paris Zhuang painted a beautiful mural of the earth on the walls of the local secondary school in Nepal.

Jenny Zhang, Staff Writer

Using paintbrushes to liven up the walls, sophomore artist Paris Zhuang hopes that her efforts can improve the condition of a Nepalese secondary school school to brighten students’ learning experiences. Her participation in the overseas volunteer program was organized and sponsored by the IvyMax Foundation, an education center in Irvine.

Over winter break, this 10-day trip to Nepal served the purpose of beautifying the learning environment for approximately 40 students attending this countryside school. Volunteers showed their passion for artwork through their creative painting of the classrooms. They also distributed computers and printers purchased through private donations from IvyMax and donated clothing to local orphanage.

“The message we want to deliver to [participants] is that even the small act of kindness can make a large impact,” IvyMax volunteer program assistant Putin Jin said.

Having satisfied her curiosity for exploring a developing country, Zhuang gained not just a unique experience but also formed caring friendships with other volunteers. She said she appreciates her life more after witnessing the less-than-perfect learning conditions of Nepalese students.

“There were no traffic lights, and wires were hanging everywhere. After I visited Nepal, I realized the living conditions at Irvine are so much better,” Zhuang said.

Zhuang said she believes the volunteer program was a good experience for all students because it gives them a better sense of their own fortunate lives. With that understanding, volunteering can lead them to work extra hard toward making the most of every opportunity available. Her mother Lifang Shen agrees and said she hopes that Zhuang can realize not just the other side of life, but also learn from this special journey to Nepal.

“Students should establish an outlook on life that takes on a world view, do more meaningful community services and enrich themselves to create a more valuable life. This is what we expect for Paris to obtain from this experience,” Shen said.