Doors to Diplomacy Project ID: 7086

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International Schools CyberFair Project Narrative
Title: Commercial Surrogacy – Commodification of Motherhood?
Category: 2. Promotion of Peace and Democracy: Social Issues

School: Hwachong Institution
    Singapore, Singapore, Singapore

4 students, ages 13,13,13,13 worked together to complete this Doors to Diplomacy project on February 25, 2012. They have participated in Doors to Diplomacy in the following year(s): 2012

Classes and Teachers: Wei Min, Jiadong, Daryl, Yichi, Mr Paul Ho

E-Mail contact:

Our School's Web Site:

Project Overview

1. Description of Our Team

We are four guys that have joined together to do this project- Weimin, Jiadong, Daryl and Yichi. We all live in Singapore and are students of Hwachong Institution. We are currently only 13 years old and are doing this project as part of our humanities course.

As his high school workload started to subside, 13 year old Weimin started searching online for a very meaningful competitions to participate in to share awareness of this very important topic he wanted to outreach to the entire world. Together, he gathered his web-savvy buddy, Daryl, his researcher, Jiadong and the Communications buddy, Yichi and set about the project, titling it Commercial Surrogacy, Commodification of motherhood? Just as coincidentally, their Humanities teacher introduced Doors to Diplomacy Competition which they could participate in. They immediately agreed and enlisted the help from their mentor, Mr. Paul Ho. Kudos to Mr Ho, they managed to complete this project in an organized fashion, as he helped them set realistic goals. Mr Ho also counseled them to expand their research by helping to connect with more professors, interviewees who had broad experiences with our project. His advice broadened their research base and added breadth to their project. Daryl, 13, is inside his school’s mediatech club and has very broad knowledge of various software we used in our project such as the filmmaking. Jiadong, 13 helped mainly in the researching sector, channeling the internet, books and interviews and collated them together to be passed to Daryl who would later design the website. Yichi, 13 was the communications officer and helped to arrange interviews and communicated on behalf of the team to various departments and organizations.

2. Summary of Our Project

Our Purpose is to spread awareness as many around the world are ignorant of the plight of these surrogate mothers, who are paid a measly fee to go through nine torturing months of child bearing. We aim to make impact by discouraging surrogacy to protect these vulnerable women from a rampant exploitation of their human rights.

How the world is pretty much interconnected when couples Around the world cannot conceive, 50% would visit the Surrogacy clinics in India where its 3-5 times cheaper. Many problems in the world are nearly impossible to solve – for example, as we are discouraging surrogacy to protect women, how do we make sure that they get other jobs with similar pay? How do we make sure that they don’t starve along streets begging for money? Thus, we hope our project stimulates the international community and get them thinking on their counterparts in the third world nations. Commercial Surrogacy has made a deep impact on many nations’ diplomacy as seen in many recent cases when relations have been affected when either the surrogate mothers or the commissioning couple breaks their contracts, it would create a spat between both countries. To counter this problem, the first step must be to raise international awareness and through this project, we hope to provide a glimpse of what is very likely to become a major humanitarian crisis!

3. Our Computer and Internet Access

A. Percentage of students using the Internet at home:more than 50%

B. Number of workstations with Internet access in the classroom:more than 6

C. Connection speed used in the classroom:dedicated connection

D. Number of years our classroom has been connected to the Internet:more than 6

E. Additional comments concerning your computer and/or Internet access (Optional):

Our computer and Internet access was constant throughout the duration of the project. There were no issues in getting online at any point in order to do research or connect with each other. Online communication and the virtual sharing of files were the most common ways through which we worked together early on. Towards the end of the competition, we worked at one another’s houses or in the public library so that we were even more in sync.

4. Problems We Had To Overcome

It was very, very hard to find documentation (visual, textual, or auditory) of the events we wished to chronicle on our website. We were looking hard for noteworthy examples of Commercial Surrogacy. Though, there were lots of internet sources online and also from a real surrogate biography, we desperately wanted proof of these events, so in a moment of spontaneity, we thought of the idea of travelling to India. However, that did not come true as we have a limited budget. Also, we tried contacting various experts, regardless of via email or phone , however, to our dismay, Many of them did not answer us at all! Thus, we had a very hard time trying to find different sources of information and also gathering statements from experts. Furthermore, it was very hard to find experts on this particular field of surrogacy. On the making of film we had to think of an entertaining storyline which showcases the life of an ordinary surrogate mother and how she had to face hardships and also to make it thrilling and impactful to the global audience. On the Outreach sector, we also encountered difficulties to spread awareness to as many people as possible, however, not many people were interested and many did not even know what Surrogacy was!

5. Our Project Sound Bite

Doors to Diplomacy has taught us what it means to investigate a topic, dive head first into a subject and contact experts in the field without being shy. The competition has shown us how to synthesize the vast research we have done and how create a finished, coherent product.

6. How did your activities and research for this Doors to Diplomacy Project support standards, required coursework and curriculum standards?

Because our website deals with Commercial Surrogacy, our website strives to address content standards as outlined in the EFF. We delve into the four basic disciplines—Communications skills, Decision-Making Skills, Interpersonal Skills and Lifelong Learning Skills—which are constantly advocated and thought in our school. We also Categorized our webpage into different sections to better communicate our ideas and to bring out our thoughts and feelings in a more impactful way. This project fits into our required district curriculum guidelines in that it demanded 21st century competencies—we had to master the use of information, media and technology so that we could properly communicate with others, build the website, embed video, sound, add images onto the site, and properly store all of our research digitally. We also had to decide what was the healthiest, most appealing balance of media on the webpage and, in that way, tap into our advertising and design skills. We learned how to work well with each other and to split up work according to our strengths; we also came to better understand how Diplomacy works and the power of the Internet as a channel through which to share sources. We also had to cooperate with one another and do lots of Decision-Making for higher order and critical thinking when we were writing about Surrogacy, the importance of research, the various sources and finally, we realized that our community in the 21st generation don’t really know what Surrogacy means and trivialize it. Commercial Surrogacy, a future trend, a humanitarian crisis, Don’t overlook it!

Project Elements

1) What information tools & technologies did you used to complete your Doors to Diplomacy project?

Our main resource were books, particular “Birth Mother, A tale of Surrogacy” which is a biography written by a once Surrogate Mother from the United States who actually regretted her decision then to become a surrogate mother. She talks about her feelings, the experiences etc. We also delved into many interviews with professors, real surrogate mothers, surrogacy clinics, and also mothers who went overseas for surrogacy. We used mainly 2 computers, One Asus and the other Acer for the platform of our project. We used search engines (Google) and the internet to browse for information, Sony Vegas Pro and Adobe Premiere Pro for our Film, WIX for our website because it was very user-friendly. Microsoft Word 2010: to collate our Information. Skype: For video-calling and chatting. Video Camera for recording of the interviews. Libriaries, Newspapers, tape-recordings and youtube for our research. Last but not least, Adobe Photoshop for the editing of images from interviews and also those from the internet.

2) In what ways did you act as "ambassadors" and spokespersons for your Doors to Diplomacy project both on-line and in person.

In person, we organized plenty of Forums, in churches, schools, and also in public places. During these forums, we also asked the people to sign a petition to support our cause. Thus, this shows that we act as spokesperson, advocating our project. We also hope to continue organizing seminars to continue to educate, publicize, and otherwise encourage people to visit and learn from your project. We contacted various surrogacy departments in India, some of which are against Surrogacy while others actually offer the Surrogacy service. There, we did lots of email interviews and got valuable information for our research. The professors we questioned also gave us their different points of view. We linked the URL on our Facebook profiles so all our friends could see and visit it. We also encouraged the visitors at our seminars to become an active participant in our webpage. Visitors saw what we have done for the project and hopefully gained some knowledge about Commercial Surrogacy and its alternatives. In future, we hope to remain in contact with many of the professors and doctors we spoke with and hopefully find a chance whereby our project can either be broadcasted on national TV, radio or on the newspaper itself!

3) What has been the impact of your project on your community?

Our project has made a difference to our community, because we both raised awareness and taught people in our community about our cause. We present and shared our project with our class, community, and friends. We did this in multiple ways. When having our forums and seminars, we told people who and what we were raising money for, along with that we also passed out informative flyers and information sheets about what we were doing. We also shared our website by posting the URL and summary about what our website was for and about on each of our Facebook pages. This allowed us to share our project with our family and friends all around the world. Our website has received positive feedback, and has helped to share information about Commercial Surrogacy. Along with being informative, we have even given ways in which people can help out themselves!

4) How did your project involve other members of your community as helpers and volunteers?

Firstly, we enlisted help from our mentor, Mr Paul Ho and he helped us look for further assistance and having experience with many Doors to Diplomacy project groups in the past, we was able to give us useful analytical information and also conducting research. Also, we involved many members of the surrogacy industry in India, asking them for their thoughts and feelings and through many support groups based there, we came to understand more about Surrogacy. We did not really need any helpers or volunteers for our forums or seminars because our aim was to spread awareness and not to raise funds. Thus, as a team of 4, we were able to conduct our seminars well. We did not need any help with our web project as we had a very experienced teammate, Daryl on the web design and filming part. Nonetheless, our heart goes out to our school, the community for having supported us constantly throughout this painstaking process of collecting research and also financially for our project!

5) Discoveries, Lessons and Surprises (Optional)

We discovered lots of new information after speaking to various departments in India and at first, we did not really know much about Surrogacy as it is a little-known topic, however, through constant research and speaking to professors, we learnt valuable information. For example, around 75% of the Indian population are living in Poverty and 50% resort tho Surrogacy because it is really a very lucrative business which earns them 15months of what they get if they do manual work. We learnt about what surrogacy really felt like, about its history, about why people want to choose surrogacy as a viable option instead of the other alternatives such as adoptions. We learnt about what the surrogate mothers are suffering through, but most importantly, we finally understand how Countries’ Diplomatic relations work and correlate!


View our Doors to Diplomacy Project (Project ID: 7086)

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