Tag Archives: single mothers

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 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.