Hubert Burda Media


The Hong Kong Society for the Protection of Children helps hundreds of vulnerable people every day. Three of the charity’s most dedicated fund-raisers tell us about its campaigns and initiatives.

“I find that people in Hong Kong are generally supportive,” Stephanie Ko muses. “People here are aware of the fact that they need to support charity, and that’s a very good thing.” And Ko would know. Along with several of her friends, including Jacqueline Chow and Camay Wong, Ko sits on the fund-raising committee of the Hong Kong Society for the Protection of Children (HKSPC). Chow is chairwoman of the committee, and Wong and Ko are both long-term supporters who are jointly organising this year’s fund-raising gala dinner. The government provides the HKSPC with only a limited subsidy, so the charity has to raise the majority of its substantial annual expenses through events such as this.
The HKSPC is the oldest children’s charity in Hong Kong, having been established almost 90 years ago, and runs a series of programmes to support in-need children and struggling parents. These initiatives are based in the 27 different centres that the HKSPC manages around the city, and include everything from day crèches for babies to support programmes for families from ethnic minorities, among many others. Each centre is staffed with a full-time team of care and medical professionals, and some of them are visited by more than 100 children a day.
Both Chow and Wong have been on the HKSPC’s fund-raising committee for more than a decade, and all three women regularly get hands-on at the charity’s various centres. But before their next fund-raiser, we met Wong, Chow and Ko to find out what the HKSPC is working on at the moment.
How did you all get involved in the HKSPC?
CW: After I became a mother. It’s natural – once you become a parent you look at things differently. My children were very young and I could see how lucky they were and I thought, there must be some underprivileged children somewhere out there. That’s why I decided to get myself involved with the HKSPC.
JC: I’ve been volunteering for the HKSPC for 14 years. Actually many generations of my family have been involved with the HKSPC, so I was involved more than 14 years ago, because I’d heard of this charity for many, many years. My great-grandmother was one of the founding members, along with some British ladies, almost 90 years ago. My mother was involved for over 20 years, but she left just before I joined, and Camay was the one who officially brought me into the committee.
SK: Eight or nine years ago I volunteered at some of the HKSPC centres, the kindergartens and the day-care centres, but I stopped for a number of years. But then a mutual friend introduced me to Jacqueline, and Jacqueline actually works for a number of charities, but she suggested HKSPC in particular to me, so I joined it and I started helping out. And now this year I’m helping Camay organise this gala dinner.
What initiatives is the HKSPC running at the moment?
JC: We have 27 day-care centres and crèches, mainly around the Tsim Sha Tsui and Yau Ma Tei area – that’s where we were founded actually. We provide services for children from when they’re newborn to when they’re six years of age. But recently we’ve also started a service for teenagers. We’ve provided one floor of a few classrooms for teenagers to come and finish their work or talk to advisors. We run many, many different programmes, but even though we’re the longest-established children’s charity in Hong Kong, unlike many others under The Community Chest we only have a 30 percent subsidy from the Hong Kong government. So 70 percent of our annual expense is covered by our fundraising committee.
So what events do you have coming up?
JC: Every year we have a couple of standard events, for example the golf day. It’s the first time at the Hong Kong Golf Club in Fan Ling, and there’ll be 25 flights of four players, so around 117 players will be involved [turn to page 93 to see photos from that event]. And Stephanie is helping Camay with the gala dinner this year.
SK: It’s on October 19 at The Langham, Hong Kong. We had a ball last year and we’re having a big ball in 2016, so this year we want to take it easy and have something that’s more fun and less formal. So we’re doing it in the form of a gala dinner – we’ll have lots of performances at the dinner, we’ll have dance performances, we’ll have games. It’s meant to be really interactive and really fun.
CW: Actually planning this particular event has been very memorable. We have a very good subcommittee organising it, and we’re not using a production house at all. We’re sort of going straight to the supplier and skipping the middle person.
And next year you’re celebrating your 90th anniversary. Are you planning a big event to mark that?
JC: Actually we haven’t really discussed it with the executive committee members yet, because we do have an executive committee that takes care of all the schools. We’ll probably have a ball.
Out of all your years working with the HKSPC, do any of you have a defining memory of your involvement?
JC: I was back in the head office two days ago. Every time I go I visit the babies. We have a unit for newborns whose parents didn’t send them – the Social Welfare Department actually insist that these kids are taken care of by us. Obviously the parents aren’t able to care for them, so the Social Welfare Department insists that those babies come to us. But, eventually, they’ll be sent back to their families, once the conditions are better. So every time I’m back in the head office, I always go to visit that floor, the nursery unit, and it brings back fond memories and reminds us how rewarding it is to help them. They’re very happy under our care because we provide a really good environment.