Part-Time Human Rights Defender: Lindy Tsang (bubzbeauty)

“Part-Time Human Rights Defenders” is an interview series spotlighting people whose day jobs aren’t necessarily being activists or working at nonprofits, but are still making great change in the human rights causes they care deeply about. My goal is to demonstrate that human rights affects and is affected by every sphere of human interaction and activity, and that anybody could make a change just by doing what they’re good at and what they love to do. I hope this will encourage you to do what you can, in your own field and with your own expertise, to improve global human rights!

Lindy Tsang (bubzbeauty) is a beauty guru and vlogger on YouTube. In August 2015, she shared a video announcing her Pencils of Promise campaign, where she sold sweaters that she had designed and donated 100% of the proceeds to build schools in partnership with the nonprofit organization. Thanks to her 2.9 million subscribers, she raised tens of thousands of dollars and built two fully-functioning schools in Laos, bringing access to a quality learning environment to over 300 children! Lindy also visited the completed schools back in January this year to meet the students. Read my interview with her below to find out more about her experience defending the human right to education!

What would you say is your full-time job?
My full time job is managing my YouTube channels. However, I also use opportunity of this platform to launch my own merchandise.

How did you get the idea to be involved in your work with Pencils of Promise?
My grandma told me when she was younger, she was very clever but due to war, she was unable to study as she was sold from a very young age. It was always stuck on my head and since then, I knew I always wanted to build schools. I expressed to my manager and he told me that it was also something close to his heart he always wanted to do. He had read all about Adam Braun who is the founder of the organisation. He was so inspired by him and pitched the idea of working together. We ran with this since.

Why did you choose this cause?
Education is fundamental for growth. Through it, there is improved hygiene, infrastructure, women’s rights and endless possibilities from here!

If you could have another job for a day, what would it be?
I would honestly love to be a teacher of one of these schools. If only I could speak their native language. These kids look so happy to be in school and the teachers are incredibly proud too.

When you first started this campaign, did you think it would be this successful?
I wanted to build one school first but my manager suggested two. I didn’t think there’s any harm in trying. We had previously raised money in the past thanks to my YouTube viewers. They have always been very supportive.

Did your involvement in this partnership with Pencils of Promise bring any change — in your perspective of the world, in what you value, in your goals, in your life?
They opened up my eyes. When I was able to go on a field trip to see the impact, it was such an amazing experience. I got to see that the happiest people are truly people who don’t have a lot. It changed everything on for me. When I was younger, I loved to draw a lot. Now that I’m older- I’ve gone into a complete different career path but this campaign has allowed me to be a child again. I can draw and make a difference. What an honour!

What advice would you give to people hoping to do good on the side — to become a Part-Time Human Rights Defender?
Be willing to learn and try. The best gift in life is being able to give without expecting anything in return. It’s not about how big you can give. You can help not just by raising money but by talking to somebody or even listening. Mental support is huge. Everybody can help, big or small.

Would you do it again?
Absolutely. We’re in plans to build three more schools this year.

What is one thing you do everyday to become someone who does good?
Be positive. You cannot have a positive life with a negative mind.

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