Sewa Day 2014 in Hong Kong involved projects with KELY Group and Christian Action, two of the largest NGO’s in Hong Kong in the youth support, and refugee care fields respectively. KELY provide help to 14-24 year old youth in relation to drug & alcohol prevention, and focus on root causes including peer pressure, lack of self-awareness, low self-esteem, poverty, unemployment, and discrimination. Christian Action provide the only drop-in service center in Hong Kong for refugees who seek protection, presently having +3700 individuals and families registered for such support.
In working with KELY and Christian Action during the year, a point was made to not only have the future generations take part in projects, but to own and lead projects right from inception through to managing the day.
Student, Parth Bhagat, 16, led the Ryze Project, which involved coordinating a group of 30+ people in total for a trampolining day out at Hong Kong’s first trampoline park, Ryze, and hosting a Financial Planning workshop to help the refugees with their finances and initiating business ideas in a workshop facilitated by Standard Chartered Bank and EY volunteers.
One of the refugees and beneficiaries from Africa, David, remarked “First time he had reason to laugh in a long long time.” As a volunteer, Parth said “It was challenging working with so many diverse stakeholders with many things to consider all the time, but the team made it work and it’s helped us all grow immensely.” One of the senior sponsors of the Ryze project, Michael Vrontamitis, Standard Chartered Head of Trade & Product Management, remarked regarding the financial planning workshop that “Financial education is really important for young people and we were glad we could help a young group of people from an ethnic minority and make it fun!”
Another project with Christian Action involved taking a group of refugees to Ocean Park, a water park in Hong Kong; something that the beneficiaries had never been able to see in their lives. Angelina Ng, EY, who organised the project, shared that “Seeing the excitement and smiles of the children was tremendously rewarding and contagious. It’s been sometime since I have been excited by the prospect of a day at an amusement park. The kids brought all that back for me.” Anne Marie-Balfe, EY, Head of Talent, Asia Pacific, who helped to sponsor the project remarked “We are very glad to be able to help people in a good cause and have an experience they will treasure for some time to come, and look forward to more such “Sewa Days”.
The City Indian Network in Hong Kong had been mentoring a group of ethnic minority children for the year, and then asked one of the mentees to organise and execute a project on their own. The group of 20+ students cleaned Sai Kung beach, a famous sailing and fishing village in East Kowloon. The organiser of the project, Saloni Anandpara commented that “Those who helped do this are all my friends, so it’s not very hard to get friends together to do things, this time we thought we would give back to the environment in some way, and we had a lot of fun in doing so!”
Last, but by no means least, Mandeep Gill, an Intern at EY, worked with KELY Group to organise a CV & Interview Skills workshop. However, this wasn’t to be straight-forward. When Mandeep arrived at the offices in Admiralty, she found the area to be cordoned off due to the Hong Kong protests taking place, and spontaneously had to arrange the workshop to be done in a small nearby park amidst hundreds of people gathering. Mandeep shared, “I thought we would have a projector, but luckily I had hand out slides, and we were able to make it work in the park whilst getting some Sun too!” Charis To, from KELY Group remarked that “Even though things changed last minute, it still worked out. The students and I really appreciated it, and gained a lot of insight from it.”[postcasa size=xl]https://picasaweb.google.com/data/feed/base/user/115250810957553914778/albumid/6064528327281979761?alt=rss&kind=photo&hl=en_US[/postcasa]