2019 THE ONE HK Runners-Up
(Photo by UC Workshop)
Chow Shu Tak — A street hawker on a mission to help society’s forgotten
Every day Chow Shu Tak sets up his stall at the Bowring street market in Jordan. For 30 years, he has taken what little income he earns from selling clothing and sundries to feed and care for the city’s mentally-ill and homeless.
Believing that “several full bellies are better than one,” Chow ensures that his beneficiaries have three meals each day and spends minimally on himself. He cuts their hair, assists them in obtaining government identification and helps them apply for housing and living assistance.
To many, Chow is their only friend and lifeline, but establishing trust and acceptance can be challenging. He prefers to approach potential beneficiaries alone, but many have difficulties communicating and reject him outright. With many visits he is able to take their hand and care for them as a friend. Over 30 years, he has never recruited volunteers to help, believing that his work is best done alone.
Chow’s care for the mentally-ill homeless never ceases. When many of them pass away, he acts as their family, makes funeral arrangements and even returns their ashes to their native homes. He offers them dignity not only while they are alive, but throughout their final journey. His actions have earned him the moniker, “Body Collector Chow.”
When his story was reported by the media, he inspired many citizens to offer their support and donate their Old Age Allowance towards his efforts. Chow hopes that with more funds, he can reach more beneficiaries and offer more services to those in need.
Now in his 70s, Chow is content to serve this vulnerable group until his last breath. Since he began, he has helped over 100 mentally-ill homeless individuals, including one who he has seen every day for 22 years. He also extends a helping hand to impoverished elderly and low-income families.
Chow is living proof that to change the world and make a difference, all you need is one man with a big heart.
(Photo by UC Workshop)
Nip Yeung Sing — Bringing resources and peace to the destitute elderly
A businessman-turned-humanitarian, Nip Yeung Sing has spent over 20 years serving the elderly. The guiding principle for all his programmes is to serve from the heart and care for every beneficiary as if they were his own family.
Nip first joined Banyan Service Association as a volunteer in 1995. While visiting the elderly at home, he learned what they feared most – that no one would care when they passed away. Believing every person deserves to live with dignity and leave in peace, he was compelled to establish the “Friends of the Setting Sun” programme.
Under the programme, Nip gathers volunteers to visit the elderly, cut their hair, do their makeup and take what will be their memorial photographs. After they pass, he arranges their funerals and religious ceremonies according to their wishes. Once upon realising three siblings had all coincidentally passed away under the programme, he scattered their ashes in the same rose garden, uniting them in the afterlife.
Touching many with his dedication and service, Nip was finally elected as Chairman of Banyan Service Association in 2006. He went on to establish a treatment programme for the elderly in partnership with 30 Chinese medicine practitioners to provide free treatment and conduct visits for the house-bound. He also offers hot meals for those living on the poverty line with a cafeteria in Wong Tai Sin allowing the beneficiaries to enjoy their meals together and build friendships among a caring community. Most volunteers of the feeding programme are elderly themselves, promoting an “able-elderly” spirit.
Making regular visits to universities to speak about his work, Nip hopes to teach the younger generation how to care for the old. His efforts have inspired many, with entire families volunteering. Not only do they learn more about the needs of the elderly but the importance of harmony and understanding between family members.
To date, his programmes have provided 400,000 free meals and free treatment for 20,000 individuals while over 1,500 elderly have been put to peaceful rest. Nip is determined help each one until he eventually meets his last.
2018 THE ONE HK Runners-Up
Chan Hung — Empowering the underprivileged through education
Chan Hung founded Principal Chan Free Tutorial World in 2009, an NGO that provides underprivileged children with tutoring, talent classes and other educational support for free. To him, every child, regardless of their background or learning ability, has an equal right to education.
Chan has over 26 years of experience in the education field. As a teacher and school principal, he witnessed the short-comings of Hong Kong’s education system firsthand. He watched helplessly as students abandoned their studies due to financial constraints and academic difficulties. Determined to help, he left his million-dollar salary behind, and visited different housing estates where he befriended marginalised youth and offered his teaching services for free.
Today, Chan has amassed a roster of over 11,000 volunteer tutors and 12,000 students. He insists on providing students with one-on-one tutoring, which he views as the most effective learning experience. He has also incorporated talent development classes to ensure the student’s complete development and celebrate their individuality. A believer in diversity, he adopts a holistic approach to learning and offers sports and music classes.
Thanks to Chan’s work, previously uneducated youth have found confidence in their new knowledge and skills. Many students have gone on to complete their degrees. Those with learning abilities have been able to identify appropriate support. For Chan education is a means through which mankind can achieve true equality.
Li Kwok Yin — Creating a sense of belonging for society’s forgotten
In 2004 Li Kwok Yin founded Grace Link Charity, an organisation that mobilises volunteers and provides resources and care to those with special needs.
Li works with over ten different care centres in the outskirts of Hong Kong, where he organises volunteers to visit residents daily. A full-time taxi driver, he conducts his own visits and organises parties and gifts during the holidays, providing residents with a true sense of belonging.
When Li first started visiting privately-owned care centres, he was shocked to uncover issues such as poor management and deplorable living conditions. He started a donation programme and mobilised volunteers to ensure that each resident had their own blanket in the winter. More importantly, he convinced the centres to separate the women and men’s quarters to protect female residents from sexual harassment. In centres that were severely understaffed, he established a programme where job-seekers could accompany sick residents to the clinic, providing them with a source of income while preventing further outbreaks.
As a wheelchair user himself, Li has also drastically improved transportation services for the disabled. He has personally donated a seven-seater vehicle which can be used by any of the centres. He plans to set up a taxi fund to support the disabled on their excursions and hopes to purchase more vehicles to expand his project. He also runs additional similar programmes in China.
Li has served the disabled for 25 years, both as a friend and caregiver, and is committed to improving their quality of life.
2017 THE ONE HK Runners-Up
Nicole Sicard — Provider of free education to our city’s poorest
Nicole Sicard, a charismatic 83 year old lady, has dedicated over 50 years of her life towards providing education to the poorest members of society. She has transformed the lives and brightened the futures of countless children and adults in Hong Kong and is loved by every student she has ever taught.
Nicole’s average day involves teaching after-school lessons to local children and night classes to adults. Ever since her evening school – which stood for over 30 years – closed down, Nicole has taught her students from her own home. She helps them build their confidence and gives them hope and the ability to secure better job prospects. Many who have learned under her wing have applauded her conviction and determination and acknowledged her contribution towards the successful careers they lead today. Not only does she inspire her students, but her compassion and self-sacrifice has allowed her to attract many volunteers to join her in her mission.
In 2011, along with a group of activists, Nicole co-founded Mayaa Nepal, an organization promoting child rights, quality education and woman empowerment in Nepal. Five years later she founded Mayaa Hong Kong, which focuses on sponsoring under privileged children currently educated in local Hong Kong Schools. Administrative costs are covered proactively by each volunteer allowing all sums raised to go directly to Mayaa Hong Kong’s charitable services.
Teaching a lesson in how a single person can bring a world of change, Nicole’s compassion truly knows no bounds – she runs additional projects in India, Philippines, Mongolia and Laos. But perhaps her biggest lesson, above all, is that “a poor man’s first and greatest need is to be respected and acknowledged, rather than pitied”.
Phyllis Marwah — Giving pregnant teens and abandoned children a second chance at life
Hong Kong holds a reputation as a city of wealth, however, the needs of its people are overwhelming and vulnerable groups are often shrouded in the city’s glamour. Phyllis Marwah co-founded Mother’s Choice, a care facility for abandoned children and pregnant teenagers, to offer the girls much needed support and the children a second chance to find permanent, safe and loving homes.
Mother’s Choice first began as a small organisation, but through Phyllis’s unwavering commitment, Mother’s Choice has now counselled and sheltered over 51,000 girls and matched 1,200 babies with devoted families. She has been instrumental in bringing the charity to Guangxi in China, Cambodia and Nagaland, India.
Phyllis’s aim is to break the vicious cycle where children from teenage pregnancies end up in institutionalised care, and who, under the system, become prone to crisis pregnancies, thus starting the cycle again. She does this through a high standard of kindness and the use of unique approaches; under Mother’s Choice she has developed a system of tailored intervention which dramatically increases the chance for the child to be matched with a family. She also pioneered a foster care pilot called Project Bridge which saw over 30 children move into their foster families in just the first phase.
Under Phyllis, Mother’s Choice has secured a passionate group of volunteers comprising 80 per cent of its workforce. Her dedication and innovative solutions has attracted over 500 volunteers which she mobilises every week to serve infants, girls and families in Hong Kong. Her service to humanity has achieved a deeper effect of changing community attitudes towards young girls facing crisis pregnancy, adoption and child protection, and she engages in preventative solutions by introducing sex education in local schools.
2016 THE ONE HK Runners-Up
Malcolm Begbie — Founder of Crossroads
Malcolm Begbie left Australia with Sally in 1979 for Asia. He wanted to serve others who were less fortunate and, through his accounting skills, supported charities that could not readily afford accounting services. Malcolm then extended his work by supporting them with shipments of donated goods. He quit his day job to focus more fully on the charitable work that was taking all his time.
Since then, Malcolm has served on a volunteer model, receiving no salary of any kind for 20 years. This is his full-time job.In 1996 Malcolm and Sally founded the Crossroads Foundation whose Goals were:
GLOBAL DISTRIBUTION: Secure excellent quality goods donated by business and private donors, which were then distributed to people in need, locally and internationally.
GLOBAL HAND: Run a match-making service linking for-profit and non-profit organizations who want to partner to help meet global need.
GLOBAL X-PERIENCE: Simulate 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: Sell handicraft goods created by people in need on a fair trade basis.
- Approximately 605,000 people in need, globally and locally, are supported each year by Crossroads.
- Approximately 13,000 needy people in Hong Kong are supported through the distribution of goods each year.
- Quality donated goods have been sent to over 90 countries to projects assisting orphans, the elderly, hospitals and medical need, refugees and many more.
- Sales of Global Handicrafts products help 16,300 people annually towards economic independence.
They continue to serve Humanity daily.
Chan Cheuk-ming – Hero of the Poor who delivers food and warmth every day
Chan Cheuk Ming (Ming Gor) has been working in Sham Shui Po Pei Ho Barbecue Diner as the owner and the chef for over two decades, during which he weathered the financial crisis and continual cost inflation. Through his business, dubbed the “restaurant with conscience”, and his conviction in asking-for-no-return, hehas garnered support from local citizens, volunteers and NGOs, as word of his kind-hearted deeds spread across town.
In 2008, Ming Gor began his collaboration with the Society for Community Organization and launched the “Food Voucher” program which allowed 500 grassroots citizens enjoy a free meal at the Pei Ho Diner every day. In 2011, Ming Gor worked with the “Swap For Good Movement” and conducted a monthly food giveaway programme for the needy. His kind heart and hands-on style are recognized with the donations from the customers. The donations have supported the food giveaway programme to become a weekly event outside the Pei Ho Diner on every Saturday. The beneficiaries are mainly the needy residents and homeless people in the neighborhood.
Having worked in the Pei Ho Barbecue Diner for over 20 years, Ming Gor is known for providing lowprice meals which only costs HK$22 for three courses and a bowl of soup. He often reminds himself that “I’m not trying to make big money out of this businessl I’m providing food and love in this diner.The society has helped me before so now it’s time for me to return the favor.” He fears no pressure from inflation and insists in providing low price meals to the local residents. Not only does he provide food, but he also provides warmth to those people in need.
Recently, he has started collaboration with some volunteers and schools to help distributing free lunchboxes to the South Asians and homeless people in Yau Ma Tei and Yuen Long. To respect different food culture in various religions, Ming Gor and the volunteers have worked hard in designing a vegetarian recipe which is suitable for people from different origins and religions. He is also planning to start a restaurant which serves South Asian cuisine, so that the poor ethnic minorities would also be able to enjoy low price meals that suit their food culture.
In the future, Ming Gor plans to open more social enterprise restaurants so as to benefit poor locals in other districts. His initial planning is to spread his business in Tsuen Wan, Kwun Tong, Wong Tai Sin and To Kwa Wan. In the meantime, he will also train up new blood who are ambitious in joining the food & beverage industry and starting a career on their own. There are two main conditions for people who want to join Ming Gor’s social enterprise: first is to promise to provide low price meals to the grassroots locals, second is the restaurant must deliver food to the elderly living alone in the neighborhood and motivate young people to volunteer to help at the restaurant.
“I will continue to render supportwherever help is needed. I just wish everyone would have a better life,” says Ming Gor.
2015 THE ONE HK Runners-Up
Chan Siu Cheuk, Principal & Founder of Christian Zheng Sheng College
Life is filled with adversity, strife, and struggle, each person is faced with a choice of two paths: good or bad. Despite a wrong decision at a young age, each individual can have tremendous value in society. One man who sees the potential of the wayward is Chan Siu Cheuk.
In the mid 1990s through his work with the Christian Zheng Sheng Association, Chan Siu Cheuk began to realize that our own society in Hong Kong was filled with people who were bright and full of potential, yet lived downtrodden lives filled with negative influences, such as drug abuse and theft. He decided that he needed to take action, and in 1998 he founded Christian Zheng Sheng College. For a time he was the only teacher in the school, however this did not stop him. He is single handedly responsible formulating the vision, mission and strategies of the school.
As principle, the curriculum, which he spent much time using his own personal experience to build upon, involves social development, a drug rehabilitation center, counseling, and educational development in order to turn around the lives of the many misguided youth.
Mr. Cheuk feels that society has wrongly rejected these people and that they deserve second chances. Being both a pastor and principle, he uses education and spirituality as a tool to change the paradigm of what his students consider a normal life. In short he shows them the potential they possess within themselves. Mr. Cheuk was even able to convince the government of this truth, and has resulted in many people being sent to the college through the local court system.
Mr. Chan Siu Cheuk acts as a role model for teachers and students alike. His work and connections have benefited countless individuals with over 90% of his students progressing into college or permanent jobs. Most importantly 90% continue to live a drug-free life. He creates a place in society for those who believe that they have no place.
Nancy Lan See Tsang, Director of Heep Hong Society
“Advocating for an inclusive society for handicapped children”
Amidst the chaos and suffering in the world there are those who fight to improve and create change within the world. For more than 37 years Nancy Tsang has been struggling to improve the lives of children of Hong Kong, who have disabilities or other troubles.
Tsang`s social work began in 1977 when she worked with mentally handicapped children and their families. Every day since then she has done more and more in her efforts to improve the condition of their everyday living in Hong Kong.
Her dedication and persistence have led to her becoming the Director of the Heep Hong Society, a large NGO that advocates for an inclusive society for the mentally handicapped and disabled, benefiting more than 6000 children annually.
In her quest for equal rights and opportunities, she has successfully helped thousands of special needs children enter into mainstream education. This challenge is no small task and includes sending her team to schools to provide support to students and training to teachers.
A pillar of strength and her partners in her plight to help these children are their parents. In order to further empower these parents and to provide them with the tools they need to support their children, Nancy started and assists several parent- based organizations such as the Parents Association of Pre-School Disabled Children (1986) and Heep Hong Parents Association (2001).
To further benefit suffering children, Ms. Tsang has worked to increased public awareness of the injustices and pains of their daily lives through “Walking with Children”, an event which uses ambassadors to go around the city and demonstrate the importance of social integration of the handicapped children.
Ms. Nancy Tsang is a dedicated social servant who demonstrates true humanitarianism and brings strength and comfort to those in need.