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How do we embrace a girl in crisis?

17 Jun

When a girl in crisis reaches out to Mother’s Choice for help, they welcome her into a safe place, and equip and empower her for a hopeful future. This looks different for each of the 242 girls who they walked with this year, because Mother’s Choice adapts their approach to the needs of each girl. BoBo’s story reminds us that we all need support from our friends and family when raising our children.

BoBo, a teen client of Mother’s Choice Pregnant Girls Services
“When I was pregnant, I truly didn’t know if I had the support around me to care for a baby, so I thought adoption would be the best plan. But the moment she was born, I felt so much love, I didn’t think I could leave her. Mother’s Choice arranged for a volunteer Project Bridge* family to care of my baby while I made my decision. I was nervous, but as I watched the Bridge Mom gently pick up my daughter, I knew she would be safe. Even so, my heart ached when she was carried away from me.

With support from my family, I realized I have what it takes to be a mother. I am so thankful to be living with our daughter now and am learning to be the best mom I can be. Our home is filled with so much joy as we raise my daughter together.”

Renata, Project Bridge Mom*
“When we first met BoBo in the hospital, we could feel her pain. She desperately wanted to be a mom, but she didn’t have the support she needed. My husband and I committed to caring for her baby in our own home so that BoBo and her family would have some time to get back on their feet. During that time, BoBo came over regularly to learn how to take care of her baby, and I would always try to encourage her. One evening, after we put the baby to bed, she opened her arms, and we hugged and cried together for several minutes. We started as strangers who don’t speak the same language, but we will forever share a deep bond, because we love the same child.

This experience has made me so passionate about supporting young mothers – all we did was care for a baby for two months, but it gave this new family the time they needed to stay together. Saying goodbye to the baby was one of the hardest things we have ever done, but we will absolutely open our home again to do the same thing if it can help another child and their family.”

*Project Bridge connects children in need of a temporary home to loving, nurturing volunteer families who open their homes anywhere from a few days to several months. Mother’s Choice has a great need for more families!

If you want to know about Mother’s Choice’s fostering programme or would like to attend one of their Info Sessions, please visit their website.

mothers-choice-logoAbout Mother’s Choice: Mother’s Choice is a grassroots non-profit organization that provides and promotes loving, nurturing care for babies and children needing permanent homes.

Their story starts in 1987 when founders Ranjan & Phyllis Marwah, and Gary & Helen Stephens, moved by a series of articles in the newspaper about the alarming numbers of teenage crisis pregnancies in Hong Kong, were stirred to action.
The news article reported that approximately 35-40% of the hundreds of girls going to Shenzhen every week were already in their last trimester. There was an obvious need with no one visibly responding, even though people were actually aware of the circumstances of the girls going to Shenzhen for late term abortions. The founders knew that these babies could live given the good and proper medical attention available in Hong Kong – they just needed to find the space and funding to give these girls real options. So together with the support of their friends and the community, they began the work of Mother’s Choice.

Starting with just one borrowed room and no experience but motivated to give back to this city that they love, Mother’s Choice has since helped over 51,000 single girls, cared for 3,600 babies and assisted with 1,400 successful adoption cases.

Despite their achievements, Hong Kong continues to desperately need their services. Bain & Company, a global consulting firm, conducted pro-bono research for Mother’s Choice on the state of crisis pregnancies in Hong Kong in 2010. Based on their research, they conservatively estimated that there are 6,880 crisis pregnancies each year in Hong Kong. Nearly 60% were unwed females, the majority of whom were under 25 years old – Mother’s Choice serviced nearly 25% of these young women.

The research also showed that Mother’s Choice is the leader in providing non-judgmental services to young single girls facing crisis pregnancy in Hong Kong, and the only organization that provides services from conception through labour and delivery and post-pregnancy care.

Unfortunately, the research also showed that there is still an unmet demand of young women facing crisis pregnancy [55%] that are not receiving the help or counseling that they need. It is critical that Mother’s Choice needs to expand their services and reach in the community.

For more information on Mother’s Choice and their work please visit their website.
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Volunteer for the Hong Kong Alliance for Rare Diseases

23 May

A rare disease is any uncommon disease with a very low prevalence rate. There are over 6,000 diseases identified as rare diseases worldwide. Most rare diseases are caused by genetic defects or mutation and are found during childhood or even early infancy. In most of the cases, they pose serious threat to a patient’s entire life with extreme disabilities affecting quality of life. Some of them are even degenerative and life-threatening.

The definition for rare diseases differs among different organisations and jurisdictions, as follows: 6.5 to 10 cases in every 10,000 by World Health Organization (WHO); less than 7 in every 10,000 in the US; less than 5 in every 10,000 in the European Union (EU); and less than 1 in every 10,000 in Taiwan.

Some commonly known rare diseases identified in Hong Kong include Mucopolysaccharidosis, Pompe Disease, Infantile Cutaneous and Articular Syndrome, Tuberous Sclerosis Complex, Myelofibrosis, Marfan Syndrome, Spinocerebellar Ataxia, Muscular Atrophy, Fabry Disease, Gaucher Disease, Achondroplasia, various forms of Osteochondrodysplasias, Inborn Errors of Metabolism and Mitochondrial Diseases. Most of the rare diseases are genetic in nature. In spite of a very few reported cases, rare diseases present a real threat to patients’ health, and bring heavy burden to their families.

Hong Kong has in place a world-renowned public health policy, and a healthcare system of high standard. However, we lag far behind in terms of prevention, diagnosis, treatment and protection of rare disease patients, as compared with many countries and places in Europe, US, and Asia. Government has not come up with a clear definition of rare diseases, or formulated related policies. The general public, including some healthcare professionals and social workers, have inadequate understanding and knowledge about rare diseases.

What Hong Kong Alliance for Rare Diseases does
* Enhance understanding of rare diseases among patients, carers and their families; promote self-help and mutual support and positive attitude, towards leading a more fulfilling life.
* Promote public education on rare diseases, strengthen community awareness, understanding and support for patients, their families and related self-help organisations.
* Ensure rare disease patients and their families’ needs and views are represented via policy advocacy and dialogues with Government authorities; leading to the formulation of proper support policies and services to address their needs in medical care, rehabilitation, education, welfare and social participation.
* Support and assist in rare disease-related research study.
* Unite rare disease patients, families, self-help organisations, healthcare professionals and academia, media and other stakeholders, promote collaboration and exchange.
* Promote dialogues, consultation and collaboration among related rare disease organisations in Hong Kong, Mainland China and overseas.

What you can do to help
The Hong Kong Alliance for Rare Diseases organises various events and activities to promote community awareness and support for rare disease patients and families. They invite you to act now and register as their volunteer.

Please download and fill in the Volunteer Registration Form by following this link, and email to info@hkard.org

Kids4Kids Movie Premiere Fundraiser

13 May

Award-winning Taiwanese movie featuring indigenous Taiwanese children actors, Hang In There, Kids! 只要我長大, will be premiering in Hong Kong in June 2017. In partnership with Smark B TV, Kids4Kids will hold a premiere fundraiser on June 3 to raise funds for the upcoming round of My Story Creation Workshops and Competition.

Why?
* To raise funds for My Story Creation Workshops and Competitions 2017/18
* To align with Kids4Kids’ mission of using creativity to make a positive impact
* To offer an exclusive chance for YOU to premiere a meaningful movie!

Movie Synopsis
In a secluded indigenous tribe in Taiwan, 3 kids grew up in the mountains and the woods. They are all very optimistic, energetic, and playful; yet, they are also troubled by their own family issues. Their handicapped teacher opened an after school session to help them with their schoolwork. For the children, it’s like a ray of love shone on them. The teacher has a beautiful voice, but never sings. One day, the 3 kids find a tape of their teacher’s recording and are amazed by her voice. They decide to bring this tape to Taipei…. What changes will this trip bring to all of their lives?

Date: Saturday, 3 June 2017

Time: 3:30-5pm

Place: UA Cine Times, Level 13, Times Square, Causeway Bay

Price:
Movie Ticket | HK$350 each (+ $16.50 Eventbrite fee)
Raffle Ticket | HK$100 each (+ $10.25 Eventbrite fee)
To buy tickets please go to EventBrite

Support literacy development. Make an impact today!

About Kids4Kids: Kids4Kids is a non-profit organization founded in Hong Kong in 2008 and is aregistered charitable institution exempt from tax under Section 88 of the Inland Revenue Ordinance.

kids4kidskids4kids3Their Mission: To empower children to take responsibility with opportunities to learn about giving back — from the products created to activities organized by kids of all ages to reach out and help, in our local community, for a better Hong Kong.

Crowdfunding for Girls’ Education – Key for Girls Fund

8 May

Take action! Give Girls in sex industry an opportunity for education!

My name is Kat*. At 15, I sold my body to survive.”
Kat is just one of many young Hong Kong girls who due to life circumstances, entered prostitution as a means of survival.

It is 2017, Hong Kong becomes more affluent, these girls become more and more left behind. KEY for Girls campaign hopes to crowdfund raising funds for scholarships for as many as 20 local young girls like Kat.
*Fake name

Unlocking Doors of Opportunities
The Key for Girls campaign’s aim is to crowdfund Financial Assistance Scholarships for this group of 20 local girls who have left school and are currently working in the sex trade in Hong Kong.

Education has long been an important factor in unlocking doors of opportunities. The funds will be used to allow this group of 20 girls to attend vocational and night schooling in order to leave the trade. Around HK$8,000 is needed per girl in order to finance them to go back to school.

Teen’s Key – Young Women Development Network has already a few successful young girls who have gone through this program, and therefore, with your help, hope to put more through school.

What Your Funds Will Cover
* School admission fees, and
* Tutorial costs required to help these girls become accustomed to learning again and a school environment
Teen’s Key will help these girls apply for government subsidies to cover tuition costs.

The program will allow these girls to start school this September 2017.

With your help Teen’s Key can come together to support this group of girls and build a Hong Kong community which is willing to accept them back to society.

Teen’s Key appreciates and dearly thank you for your support and encouragement for the girls.

Funding Categories:
$100 – you will receive a handmade leather bookmark
$100 – you will receive a handmade dreamcatcher
$175 – handmade leather bookmark + dreamcatcher set
$500 – set of handmade leather bookmarks
$8,000 – a personal guided tour with Executive Director, Bowie Lam, founder of Teen’s Key exploring the other side of Hong Kong where you will see some of the nightclubs where they do outreach, discover the history of the sex industry in Hong Kong.

Funding ends: 28 June 2017

For more information and to support this project, please follow this link to FringeBacker.

About Teen’s Key: Established in 2011 in Hong Kong, Teen’s Key looks to provide support for displaced, young teenaged girls vulnerable to entering prostitution. As little support is available for this formative age group of young girls, Teen’s Key is looking to fill the gap as they require more holistic care and careful counselling so they are can eventually attain a future away from prostitution.

Teen’s Key‘s Keys for Girls program aims, through education, to equip vulnerable young girls the life skills, knowledge and positive social network that will help them rebuild their own lives.

Teen’s Key is a three person strong team, who reached out to over 7,000 young girls working in the Hong Kong prostitution industry through our more than 900 outreach programs and over 1,000 counselling sessions. Additionally, they have conducted over 1,600 private HIV tests and joined the Hong Kong AIDS Commission in 2014.

In 2015, Teen’s Key received the “With and For Girls Award” global award, an award sponsored by many international organizations such as the Nike Foundation, The Malala Fund, Plan UK, Stars Foundation, The Global Fund for Children, Empower, Mama Cash and the Novo Foundation.

Earth Hour – sign up for a solar powered city

18 Mar

Earth Hour is almost upon us.

WWF’s long-term vision for Hong Kong is a transformation into a sustainable, low-carbon city. To make this vision a reality, support from business, industry and the public are the keys to success. By gaining widespread support for clean, sustainable and renewable sources of energy, we can all work together to help Hong Kong become a low-carbon or even a zero-carbon city.

Businesses have an important role to play in creating a more sustainable city – in addition to improving their energy efficiency and reducing their carbon emissions, companies and organizations can also invest in and promote local renewable energy projects, and even obtain some of their electricity from renewable sources. For example, by purchasing one of Hong Kong’s first Renewable Energy Certificates from WWF, a company can prove that part of their electricity supply is generated from renewable energy. The funds raised from these certificates will be used to promote local solar energy power supply projects, helping Hong Kong to increase the amount of electricity generated by solar power.

Individuals can contribute to this goal by installing the small-scale solar systems on their rooftops, terraces or in other vacant areas. We can also choose to use energy-efficient appliances, reduce our electricity consumption and in general consume less and consume wisely in our daily lives.

To find out more, please visit their website and pledge to change Hong Kong.

When is Earth Hour?
Date: 25 March 2017

Time: 8:30 – 9:30pm

Place: Everywhere

Price: What’s it worth to you?

Apply NOW for 2017 Summer Student Internships at Crossroads

17 Jan

Student-243x300Crossroads Foundation recruits students from universities and colleges to participate in its unique, annual internship programme. Students are given the opportunity to be assistant managers in each of their many departments and to help in the running of those departments. The students in these roles will be able to work with all types of people from around the world while gaining vital, real-world English-environment work experience.

Roles available include working in fields such as communications & vision, accounting, administration, processing goods for distribution, shipping, computing, catering and hospitality and fair trade commerce.

When: Students commit to a six-week, full-time service period. The work week is Tuesday through Saturday, from 10:00am to 5:00pm. Interns will need to complete a full six week internship to receive a reference and certificate. Contact Crossroads for more details at volunteer@crossroads.org.hk or to sign up, click here.

First intake: June 6th – July 15th 2017

Second intake: July 11th – August 19th 2017

Where: Internships take place at the Crossroads site, opposite Gold Coast, near Tuen Mun in the New Territories.

How: You must attend an induction to apply for the internship. This day will allow you to familiarise yourselves with Crossroads and the objectives for this programme as well as sit for a short interview. Students will then be notified a few weeks later as to whether they have been accepted and to which department they have been placed. Upon completion of 6 weeks, each student will receive a certificate as well as a letter of reference from Crossroads. These will be given out at the student party at the end of the internship period or upon finishing the programme.

If you have any questions, or to begin the application process, click here.

Note: Students who are not in Hong Kong at the time of the induction interviews may complete their interviews online. Contact Crossroads for more details.

About Crossroads: Crossroads’ goal is to connect people in a broken world. As their name suggests, they try to be a crossroads: bringing together those in need and those who can help. They do so in four ways.

GLOBAL DISTRIBUTION: Where need meets resource Crossroads are donated excellent quality goods by business and private donors. They distribute these to people in need, in Hong Kong and around the world.

GLOBAL HAND: Partnering for a better world Global Hand is a match-making service which links for-profit and non-profit organisations who want to partner to help meet global need.

GLOBAL X-PERIENCE: Stepping into another’s shoes Crossroads offers simulation x-periences in which participants step, briefly, ‘into the shoes’ of people facing global challenges: war, poverty, HIV vulnerability, blindness, environmental challenges, hunger, etc.

GLOBAL HANDICRAFTS: Fair trade for a fairer world Aid helps people today. An income helps them tomorrow. Global Handicrafts Marketplace sells goods from people in need within Hong Kong, and around the world, on a fair trade basis.

VOLUNTEERING
Volunteering at Crossroads is one way you can line up the skills you have, with your hopes to make a difference to a broken world. Crossroads needs people with almost any skills to do jobs like packing goods, driving trucks, cooking meals, administration and computer work, gardening and landscaping, art and design, and much more.

Cycle for Millions

7 Jan

pok-oi-1
Cycle For Millions is the first-ever territory-wide charity cycling event in Hong Kong. Organised by Pok Oi Hospital, this annual event has attracted over 33,000 riders from all walks of life since 2009.

Event Objectives
– To raise funds for Pok Oi Hospital’s development for the largest Nursing and Residential Care Home in Hong Kong
– To promote cycling in the Hong Kong Community
– To advocate green living style
– To prevent illness by encouraging physical exercises
– To help establish a stable and harmonious society
– To raise public awareness over road and cycling safety

pok-oi-2Date: 5 March 2017 (Sunday)

Registration Time: From 7:00 am to 9:45 am (Participants will assemble and start at different time slots as assigned by the Organizer. All participants must complete the charity ride within the specified event time.)

Place:
Bring Own Bike: Mei King Playground, Tsing Yi (Near the Tsing Yi Road)
Borrow Bike: Hong Kong Institute of Vocational Education (Tsing Yi Campus) outdoor parking area

Price:
Individual Category – $680 (minimum funds raised)
Corporate Category (team not exceeding 15 members) – $28,000 (minimum funds raised)

Requirements for Participants
– The Organizer strictly requires all participants to possess basic cycling skills and road safety knowledge.
– All participants must have reached the age of 12 by March 5, 2017
– Participants under 18 years old must obtained a signed provision from their parents or guardians in order to participate in the event. The Parent/Guardian Consent form can be downloaded from the event website.

For more information and to register, please visit their website

About Pok Oi Hospital: Pok Oi Hospital, a charity organization that has grown with the Hong Kong community since 1919, currently operates 84 service units spreading all over Hong Kong serving over 800,000 beneficiary attendances annually. Pok Oi provides quality and diversified services, including hospital, clinical centres for teaching & research in Chinese medicine, Chinese medicine mobile clinics, nursing home, care & attention homes, day care centres for the elderly, secondary and primary schools, kindergartens, family multiple intelligences centres, community cyber centre and hostel for single persons.