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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 Teen’s Key

7 Jun

Teen’s Key – Young Women Development Network is a non-profit organization that focuses on vulnerable teenage girls in Hong Kong. They support young girls who are at high risk of unwanted pregnancies, young mothers, as well as young girls in the sex industry and so on.

If you are interested in Teen’s Key’s services and would like to support their young women, they would more than welcome your help. Just fill in application form by following this link to their website to become one of their volunteers. Teen’s Key will use the basic information provided as a means of contacting and distributing suitable volunteer activities’ specifics to you.

For more information, please visit their website.

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.

Volunteer for MicroForests

2 Jun

MicroForests is a social enterprise that provides meaningful training and dignified job opportunities to disadvantaged women such as single mothers, new arrivals, and/or women from low income families.

MicroForests was inspired by the Sogetsu School of Japanese Floral Art (Ikebana) founded in 1927 by Sofu Teshigahara. They create living artwork that brings green, peace, happiness and balance to the busy lives of Hong Kong people. Each MicroForests artwork is a unique ecosystem made just for you!

MicroForests launched the “Life Transformation Program” pilot project in September 2014.

The “Life Transformation Program” program uses a cross-sector collaboration model and social capital accumulation theory. As such, the skills training opportunities and revenue generating components of the pilot program include:
* The sale of MicroForests artwork
* MicroForests design services
* Training workshops for beneficiaries
* Workshops open to the public
* Workshops designed for corporate and school engagement

The “Life Transformation Program” offers beneficiaries a well-structured training program with flexible working hours, so she can have the opportunity to earn extra income for her family and create work-life balance. Their program offers various placement and job opportunities to fit our trainee’s skills and career objectives, which include the opportunity to be:
* MicroForests designers
* DIY Workshop facilitators
* Couriers and logistics managers
* MicroForests ambassadors
* Part-time administrators
The aim of their intensive program is to empower their mother trainees to acquire the necessary knowledge and confidence to become qualified MicroForests Mother Designers and facilitators. The training program consists of three levels and take up a total of 48 hours including 8 placement hours and MicroForests study trip.

Poverty Alleviation
In Hong Kong, just around 42,000 housewives said they would re-join the workforce if they were given job opportunities that were suitable to their lifestyle. Issues such as illiteracy, lack of employable skills, and inflexible work environments are the biggest hindrances to disadvantaged mothers from gaining employment in Hong Kong.

MicroForests’s programs directly addresses the issues hindering women from re-entering the workforce by providing skills training and flexible employment. The objective of their programs is to encourage women in low-income families to gain meaningful skills and employment. Through the skills training workshop, they address the issue of poverty amongst women and children, especially single-mother families. As a result, they have seen an increase in confidence and self-reliance from the women who are in their program, which improves the well-being of their families.

What you can do to help
MicroForests is looking for volunteers who are eager to help with a variety of activities in theirs workshops with their mother designers. Tasks where help is needed include: babysitting, activities support, help with promotional materials and in joining their outreach programs. Your main task is to help develop the social support network for the mothers.
If you are interested, please follow this link and complete the form.

Or shop at their online store and buy one of their amazing MicroForests.

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.

UNICEF 2017 Little Artists Big Dreams Drawing Competition

2 Apr


Join China Children’s Week 2017 Little Artists Big Dreams Drawing Competition

Hong Kong Committee for UNICEF (UNICEF HK) will hold the China Children’s Week 2017 – Little Artists Big Dreams Drawing Competition on 7 May 2017 (Sunday) at Central Lawn, Nursery Park, West Kowloon Cultural District, Kowloon. The competition to be held one week before Mother’s Day will raise funds for UNICEF’s ‘Cash Transfers for Deprived Children‘ (CCT) Project in China, which will be dedicated to giving a good start in life for every child by improving the maternal and child health services in China.

© UNICEF/UNI49229/LeMoyne

Although families from remote and deprived areas are now entitled to free hospital delivery and healthcare services, suspension of work and high travelling costs make them reluctant to access these services and lead to high maternal and neonatal mortality rates. Since 2013, UNICEF HK has allocated the funds raised in China Children’s Week to the CCT project launched by UNICEF in 15 counties in Yunnan, Gansu and Sichuan. Through the initiative, women from underprivileged families will receive cash subsidies, enabling their access to prenatal and postnatal checkups, hospital delivery and vaccinations for their babies. By 26 January 2017, a total of 16,806 women and children under 1 year old have been benefitted from this project.

By joining the Little Artists Big Dreams Drawing Competition, children can celebrate an early Mother’s Day. While expressing their love to mothers in the drawings, these little artists can also raise funds for mothers and children in rural China, championing the spirit of ‘kids helping kids’. UNICEF sincerely invites all little artists aged 12 or below to participate in this meaningful fundraising event for CCT Project, ensuring a healthy good start for children.

Date: Sunday, 7 May 2017

Time: 12 – 6pm

Place: Central Lawn, Nursery Park, West Kowloon Cultural District, Kowloon (Carnival will be set up in Sunset Lawn)

Price: $180 donation

To register please go to their website

© UNICEF HK/2016

This competition is open for children who are 12 or under.
There are 3 age groups
Group A: 6 years old or under (Born in 2011 or after)
Group B: 7-9 years old (Born between 2008 and 2010)
Group C: 10-12 years old (Born between 2005 and 2007)
Awards: 1st Prize, 2nd Prize, 3rd Prize and 20 Consolation Prizes for each age group;
Most Popular Award (online voting);
Overall Champion;
All participants will receive a certificate of participation.
The 3 organization with most participants will receive a certificate.

7 April 2017 (Friday) Deadline for submission of printed application form
21 April 2017 (Friday) Deadline for online application
Late April 2017 Confirmation emails to all applications, this email will be used for registration on event day
7 May 2017 (Sunday) China Children’s Week 2017 – Little Artists Big Dreams Drawing Competition
To be announced Official results and prize collection announcements on the website

About UNICEF: UNICEF promotes the rights and well-being of every child, in everything they do. Together with their partners, they work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.

UNICEF believes all children have a right to survive, thrive and fulfill their potential – to the benefit of a better world.

UNICEF is a leading humanitarian and development agency working globally for the rights of every child. Child rights begin with safe shelter, nutrition, protection from disaster and conflict and traverse the life cycle: pre-natal care for healthy births, clean water and sanitation, health care and education.

UNICEF has spent nearly 70 years working to improve the lives of children and their families. Working with and for children through adolescence and into adulthood requires a global presence whose goal is to produce results and monitor their effects. UNICEF also lobbies and partners with leaders, thinkers and policy makers to help all children realize their rights—especially the most disadvantaged.

Volunteer with PathFinders and help vulnerable children born in Hong Kong

26 Feb

Every child born in Hong Kong deserves a fair start in life. PathFinders ensures that the most vulnerable children born in Hong Kong, and their migrant mothers, are respected and protected.

pathfindersFor PathFinders, the journey began in 2007 when co-founders Kylie Uebergang and Melissa Mowbray-d’Arbela rescued four babies born to migrant women in Hong Kong. Realising a gap in Hong Kong society where women and babies go undocumented and unprotected, PathFinders was founded on the belief that no child should be born alone and deprived of medical support, shelter and identity. Since 2008, PathFinders has served more than 4,000 babies, children and women. A respected charity committed to supporting the welfare of children by providing child protection, mothers’ protection, counselling, shelter, food, access to health, access to education and access to legal support, demand for their services grow from year to year. These numbers are likely to continue growing as more migrant workers enter Hong Kong each year.

One life at a time, PathFinders help mothers make informed decisions about their life. PathFinders are successfully removing their children from risk and are ensuring these children are part of safe and nurturing homes. Here are a few examples showing how PathFinders influences local policies and practices:
– Migrant women who have overstayed their visas as a result of becoming pregnant and losing their employment are no longer turned away from NGOs and government departments because of incomplete documentation.
– Migrant children can now be adopted in Hong Kong through Hong Kong’s Social Welfare Department.
– Migrant children adopted in Hong Kong now have the right of Unconditional Stay, which entitles them to legitimately claim their place in Hong Kong and call it their home.
– The time required for an undocumented migrant child to obtain a Hong Kong birth certificate has been reduced by 75%.
– Hong Kong birth certificates are now certified by the Indonesian Consulate, ensuring that children born to Indonesian mothers in Hong Kong are recognized by the Indonesian government and have access to basic services and education in Indonesia.

pathfinders-logoJoin PathFinders in making a difference. PathFinders is looking for volunteers who are motivated and passionate about helping children and their migrant mothers and here are ways in which you can help.

Playtime with Toddlers
pathfinders-2By assisting PathFinders to run the workshop smoothly, you will help to create a calm learning environment that enables their beneficiaries to get the most out of the class. Your contribution will help their migrant mothers to gain the skills and knowledge that they need to take charge of their lives.

Supplies Distribution
PathFinders have Clothes Collection Day once a month for their beneficiaries to collect some much needed items. PathFinders needs volunteers to help with sorting and distributing supplies and with babysitting. Please help them look after children who are 3 years old and under.

Sunday Outreach Programme
PathFinders is striving to raise public awareness on maternity rights for domestic workers by distributing information packs at different parks on Sundays. Please come and join them.

Education Programme – Life skills educators
PathFinders is looking for individuals who are knowledgeable in topics relevant to their beneficiaries’ daily lives to facilitate their weekly group meetings. They are also open to new topic suggestions! Topics covered include:
– Personal empowerment
– Parenting
– Women’s health
– Legal rights
– Relationships & culture

Access to Healthcare Programme
pathfinders-1Many of PathFinders’ beneficiaries, particularly newborns and mothers in the last stages of pregnancy, are in critical need of medical care but are unable to afford treatment. PathFinders is looking for medical professionals who can provide pro bono, basic medical services for expectant mothers and children. They are especially seeking registered professionals operating in Kowloon.

Meet and Greet with PathFinders Limited
If you would like to learn more about PathFinders’ services, please come and join their volunteers workshop. For more information, please visit their website or register to volunteer by following this link.

Families Walking for Families

23 Sep

mothers-choiceYou’re invited to the Mother’s Choice annual Walkathon: Families Walking for Families on Sunday, 30th October 2016!

Please join Mother’s Choice and walk together to give hope and raise funds to ensure every child in Hong Kong is in a loving family, surrounded by a supportive community.

Mother’s Choice can’t serve girls and babies in Hong Kong without you! They need to raise HK$3M to continue to provide services to children, youth, and families in crisis in our community.

Sign up today to walk and fundraise for Mother’s Choice!

The Walk: Child-friendly and fun!
4km walk along Bowen Fitness trail (start and end at Island School)
Choose your start time: 10:00am, 11:00am, and 12:00pm

The walk will be followed by a carnival from 11:00am-3:00pm. Join Mother’s Choice at Island School for games, food, craft, performances, and more!

Spaces are limited, so please sign up early!

Date: Sunday, 30th October 2016

Time: 10:00am – 3:00pm

Place: Island School

Price: HK$150 per person (aged 4 and above)
Spaces are limited, so please sign up early!

To register please follow this link.

mothers-choice-logoAbout Mother’s Choice: 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.