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Ming, Environmental Leadership Programme 2016

1 May 2023

"I think UpRising is just an attitude that everyone needs to experience”

Background

Ming came to the UK from China when she was 6 years old and this had a fundamental impact on her life. Ming notes that her school in Southport was “quite small but quite nice, they taught me English”. Ming recalls that being different was just part of her everyday life, when her family moved, Ming was the only non-white, non-British person in her school in County Durham. “I stood out as a person, and I got a chance to be myself because I already had this unique thing… there was literally no way I could blend in”. This experience gave Ming the confidence to pursue her education. She had an extremely successful set of GCSE’s and gained a scholarship to a boarding school in Yorkshire. It was here that she noticed a class difference. She experienced a cultural shock, her background was very different to here classmates whose families were diplomats and business owners.

Ming's experience at boarding school, along with her experiences of capitalism and society as a whole, influenced her understanding of success - she felt that her value was solely based on her productivity and ability to earn money. This extended to university and her views on her future life. She described taking part in the Environmental Leadership Programme at UpRising as an intervention to this line of thinking. “My value of success completely changed since UpRising, and led me onto different paths, a different path in my life where I allowed myself to be creative and explorative”.  The programme gave Ming the opportunity to see another future for herself, “It’s like I have all of these amazing people with amazing knowledge,… and values, like all at my hands, and I had never had that before.”

“UpRising gave me such a strong sense of purpose!"

What she went on to do after 

UpRising gave Ming the chance to truly understand the raw skills associated with leadership – equipping her for future endeavours both in her personal and professional life. “After UpRising, I just wanted to gain broader perspectives and see what else was out there.” Ming cites her experience of UpRising as instilling in her confidence and curiosity to explore new places and perspectives around the world. This curiosity led to Ming participating in workshops on hate crime and also volunteering to support refugees in Greece, where she spent time working with an organisation that gave her a further “sense of community and a sense of purpose”. As well as this important work, Ming assisted in writing policy reports for the Citizen Advice Bureau. Her journey is ongoing and ever-evolving yet she still holds onto what she learned during her time with UpRising. She describes it as “an attitude, one that everyone should experience''.

"UpRising Leadership is: how can I be a leader for good? How can I be a leader with values?"

Environment 

Taking part in the programme changed Ming’s perspectives about the environment, she describes that “it was really the foundation of everything else I now understand and consider to be important… without the environment you don’t have anything”.  The programme gave her a better understanding and greater awareness surrounding environmental issues in the world. She describes how learning about the environment was a blessing for her. It gave her the opportunity to understand the importance of educating society on environmental impacts and damage. In her own words “I am more knowledgeable about the environment than I ever would have been without UpRising”.

"Without UpRising, I would not be trying to make an impact in the way I am making impact now."

This case study is developed from the transcript of a one-to-one interview between UpRising and Ming which took place on 3rd November 2022. It has been agreed and approved by Ming.