不少成功人士談起成功之道，總少不了小時候曾住板間房、兼工讀書等幾項辛酸往事，社會認為這是成功必經之路，所以對於今日香港貧窮問題，大家的想法是肯捱就可以。 可是，香港今日的貧窮懸殊狀況，告訴我們背後有著更多肯捱卻捱不過去的人。 況且今日香港又是否如同往日?
No sentimental appeal, no calculated polish, this book depicts the daily lives of children living in a city in a bipolar world.
In an affluent metropolis like Hong Kong, our children, our little angels, should have a world of opportunity opening up to them. This is, however, a one sided picture. In many suburban areas of the city, hundreds of our children earn their living sorting through rubbish bins collecting cardboard and attempting to study in deplorable conditions in tiny cubicles. Ahead of them are all the trials and tribulations of life. These children must strive every day to find a better life against all the odds. They are but 'angels' with a different fate.
While tracing their road to success, quite a number of distinguished people recall their lives in cubicles or were forced to work while studying. It seemed that hard struggle was the only possible road to success. Hong Kong, however, is no longer what it used to be. There are many who are willing to persevere but are defeated in the face of the widening disparity between rich and poor.
Hong Kong is a wealthy and modern city with advanced technology and a knowledge based economy. It's hard to imagine that over 300,000 of our children are deprived of any access to these advantageous resources. They have the enthusiasm, they have the perseverance, but very few opportunities come their way.
We wish to thank all the children who are reaching out to the people of Hong Kong. Thanks also to the volunteers and to KPMG, who ignite hope in our children and bring them warmth and happiness. Let us hope that we are not alone.
Ho Hei Wah, BBS
Director of Society for Community Organization
20 November 2004
Hunger, lack of clothing, learning opportunities and a legitimate identity, these features of third-world countries are all found in Hong Kong society despite its affluence. 350,000 children live below the poverty line, with 150,000 on Comprehensive Social Security Allowances (CSSA).
In a beautiful city like Hong Kong, there should not be any caged homes or cubicles which are as cramped as tiny birdcages. In the poor living environment of caged homes, we should not find our children who need space to grow. Unfortunately, there are 23,000 Hong Kong children living in such places……
What does poverty mean in such a prosperous and sophisticated city as Hong Kong? Look at the thousands of children who make a living by picking through paper, cans and garbage. Within one city there are two worlds.
Introduction to Society for Community Organization (SoCO)
SoCO is a non-profitable welfare organization which was set up in 1972. Its funding comes from overseas churches, the Hong Kong Community Chest and donations from individuals.
For more than 32 years, we in SoCO have witnessed the various changing faces of Hong Kong's social and economic transformation. During our daily work, we deeply feel the hardship faced by those from the poorest levels of our community. People who worked quietly over the past decades and survived by living from hand to mouth and yet, they now neither live with dignity nor share the fruits of economic development. Under the surface of prosperity lives a community that has fallen into oblivion. In cramped and crowded cages and dilapidated private tenements are found, lonely old people, residents in old public housing estates, new immigrants, children living in poverty, street-sleepers, low-paid workers, and common people whose voices are not heard. They have long been the targets for our service.
We firmly believe that every one should have the same rights. We are also convinced that an equal chance of development and a system which reasonably allocates social resources is the basis for protecting citizen's rights. For many years, we have organized people at the grassroots level through community organization and social action to fight for policy change and a decent living standard.
Behind our work lies a simple belief : to establish a society in which human dignity is respected and social justice is upheld.
3.1 兒童啟蒙天使計劃 - 招募義工以一對一形式為貧困兒童提供學習、社交及資源方面的援助。
3.2 社區學習中心 - 招募義工為貧困兒童提供免費功課輔導及開辦興趣班
3.3 兒童扶貧基金 - 透過個人或團體捐款或捐贈物資，為貧困兒童提供緊急生活救濟、家居物資及戶外活動機會。
Introduction to Children Rights Project
Facing the widening disparity between rich and poor in Hong Kong, the poor struggle each day to survive. Living standards and development opportunities for their children are sadly compromised. There are more than 350,000 children living in poverty. Among these, some 20,000 children are living in extremely deprived conditions in cubicles and bedspace apartments. They have to do their homework on their beds and earn their living at night collecting discarded paper, cartons and tins, in the centre of affluent Hong Kong. In the spirit of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child that "each child has his or her own rights irrespective of the child's race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national, ethnic or social origin, property, disability, birth or other status", SoCo has focused on the task of improving life for children since 2003 through:
1. Policy initiation
SoCO advocates the formulation of policies for children and the appointment of a commissioner for children's affairs to support the growth and development of disadvantaged children in terms of education, housing, social welfare and health care.
Outreach social workers from SoCO visit disadvantaged children in suburban areas to explore children's potential and raise awareness of their rights.
3. Community Services (www.soco.org.hk/children/q7_content.htm)
3.1 Child Mentorship Scheme
Mentoring children through tutorials, social
contact and community resources on a one to one basis.
SoCO launched this Scheme in August 2003 and currently has 150 mentors from various professions mentoring 150 children for a period of not less than one year. Mentors enlighten the children by introducing them to community resources, raising their learning and problem-solving skills, boosting their self-confidence and broadening their horizons.
3.2 Community Learning Centre
Providing children with study support and offering
SoCO opened a community learning centre in Sham Shui Po in 2000. With the long-term commitment of over 100 volunteers, the centre is open seven days a week. Disadvantaged children can enrol in study groups and borrow study materials free of charge. The learning centre supports over 1,000 disadvantaged children every year.
3.3 Empowering Children Fund
Seeking donations in cash or in kind, the Fund
provides emergency financial aid, household resources and outdoor activities
for disadvantaged children.
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CHILDREN LIVING IN POVERTY - "OUR TREASURE"
Publisher: Society for Community Organization
Photographers: Mr. Leung Yiu-wing, Mr. Dickson Lee
Publishing date: 22nd December 2004 Price: HKD$150
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