Can you introduce about yourself, and tell us what are you doing currently?
I work for an investment bank, in charge of their Public Relations and Administration.
How did you get in touch with HandsOn Hong Kong?
While coming across your website, my attention was drawn towards your professional design and layout. Then there are these warm and fuzzy photos of people interacting with each other and of volunteers serving beneficiaries. The many different varieties of activities and your clear and tidy calendar layout triggered me to register and got me excited about this adventure. After signing up, I was delighted to learn that staff are very responsive to my questions and needs.
What drives you to provide volunteer service to the community?
I have always had an interest in serving the community and the underprivileged. At work I enjoy team volunteering through our company's CSR program. There are a few good reasons why I like to continue volunteering with HandsOn Hong Kong.
I am totally impressed by the creativity of HandsOn Hong Kong's staff. The visiting elderly program incorporated with soup delivery is such an innovative idea! I think soup is an important cultural and essential element of the Chinese community. And to deliver home-made soup to those elderly living alone means so much to them, financially (as soup ingredients cost much these days) and spiritually (it makes them feel at-home). Most importantly, bringing them soup is such a convenient way to enter into their lives, we can easily make use of this opportunity to bring up topics around their needs in a casual way, and without making them feel uncomfortable.
The staff are totally devoted and competent. When I first saw Nokia leading an activity, I was amazed by her knowledge of projects and beneficiaries, her sense of humour and eloquence.
I am so hyped up and energized every time after volunteering. I find life more colourful and rewarding by helping others through HandsOn Hong Kong. Volunteering side by side with like-minded individuals, reaching out to those in need - the spiritual satisfaction I get is indescribable.
What is the outcome of your volunteer work?
I first learned about "Help Primary and Secondary School Kids of Hong Kong Refugees and Asylum Seekers with Schoolwork" at Chungking Mansions through Christian Actions and HandsOn Hong Kong during 2011.
I chose to help these ethnic minorities because they are usually at the lower brackets of society. I love to help these kids to adapt into our fast-paced society. Without their consent nor discretion, they are brought to this metropolis without proper care and social support. Coupled with discrimination and unfairness imposed on them, they also do not speak Cantonese yet their English fluency is limited, hence the language barrier is making it even harder for them to adapt into this society. I hope to break the barrier and help them as much as I could. Little by little, I hope to make a difference. On the other hand, I am so happy to be able to practice my English with them. After two years of involvement, I was assigned as a volunteer leader of this amazing program.
Occasionally I also participate in "Home Visit and Soup Delivery for Elderly", where I enjoy interacting with other volunteers and learning a lot about the needs of the elderly.
Any interesting stories or touching experiences with HandsOn Hong Kong?
At first I was nervous immersing into the unfamiliar environment of Chungking Mansions, as it's my first time helping ethnic minorities in asylum... there was a lot to get used to: the building, the ethnic group, their language... it's all untraditional to me. I am so glad to have met other volunteer leaders, Helen and Alain, who supported me through this challenging experience. Though nice and friendly as all volunteers are, establishing a deeper relationship and stronger bonding takes time and efforts. Sometimes after the homework group sessions, we have lunch together to share our experiences, encourage and support one another, and discuss on how to improve future sessions. It's such a valuable experience to make friends with other volunteers as we share the same values and passion - the betterment of mankind. And our friendship is so pure and carefree.
Why would you recommend others to join HandsOn Hong Kong?
The regularly scheduled activities, yet with no need for long-term commitment, is a great attraction to those who have the heart to serve but cannot commit themselves to sign up for multiple incidences.
Ultimately it's the experience that counts... I am so thankful to have the opportunity to play a leading role as "Volunteer Leader". The skills acquired from these experiences are transferable, I am thrilled by how professional the activities are run. Without realizing, I have gained so much leadership skills that I now use during other volunteering occasions. I am ready for further engagement on backend support through providing translation and administrative assistance... I am eager to grow together with HandsOn Hong Kong.
HandsOn Hong Kong keeps a good track record of our volunteer hours and there is an annual volunteer appreciation party for those contributing more hours. This has been a big motivator for me, not just because I am acknowledged, I am also energized every time I see my growing contribution to the HK community. HandsOn Hong Kong motivates me to want to be committed... I love to grow together with HandsOn Hong Kong, a visionary, loving and engaging organisation!