2017 THE ONE HK Finalists
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 Finalists
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.
THE ONE HK 2015 Finalists
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.