“Every small thing we did can lead to big changes in the society. Although it is a difficult process, it is the duty of social workers to solve problems for the needy,” says Fion LI Fong, who is one of the awardees of the 31st Outstanding Social Worker Award presented by the Hong Kong Social Workers Association.
Specialising in providing counselling services for drug abusers and their families, Fion traced back her root from the days studying Diploma in Social Work between 1999 and 2001 at Community College of City University, where she encountered many inspiring and passionate teachers. To pursue her dream of becoming a professional social worker, Fion later studied Bachelor of Social Sciences (Honours) in Social Work in 2005 and Master of Social Sciences in Counselling at CityU in 2008. The extensive community service skills, in-depth counselling knowledge and wide horizons have nurtured and equipped her with practical skills to help the vulnerable groups and tackle with different social issues.
For more than two decades, she has worked as a social worker in different non-government organisations. Now, she is working at the HKSKH Welfare Council Neo-Horizon to help psychotropic substance abusers, potential drug abusers and youngsters by providing them with a range of preventive, educational and counselling services.
In handling different drug abuse cases in the past 12 years in Neo-Horizon, Fion not only cares about the drug abusers but also their families. She observes that many drug abusers have a complex background, “As a social worker, we need to devote a lot of time and efforts, especially in assisting the drug abusers’ divergent needs in drug treatment and rehabilitation service. Besides helping the drug abusers, many of them also face other family issues which require support from others.” She vividly remembers when she was in her third trimester of pregnancy, she insisted to accompany a teenage girl to get her a suitable half-way house for drug treatment. Her determination and passion have inspired that girl. When the girl decided to get married with a boy she met at the half-way house, Fion also provided the couple with premarital counselling services. Enlightened by Fion’s selfless care and help, the girl aspired to become a social worker to help people with similar experiences. Fion encouraged and supported the girl to study higher diploma courses in social work. She is happy to witness the positive changes in that girl and feels proud to be her mentor and friend.
Fion deeply believes in the power of life and holds a strong belief that drug abusers and their families can live a better life. The suffering of the spouses and children of drug abusers are often neglected in the society. Many of them are victims of domestic violence and inter-generational drug abuse, and suffer from mental illness. They are marginalised in the society and unwilling to seek help because they do not want to let others know their parents/spouse are drug abusers. She thinks that these people’s needs should also be addressed; their voices should be heard; and they deserve more respect and care.
The Outstanding Social Worker Award is an encouragement for Fion to continue her work to serve people. She will continue to have interdisciplinary collaboration with other professionals to seek for more resources to find out the hidden family members of the drug abusers. The Award is also a recognition for other social workers who have the same never-give-up attitude to walk side by side on the road of combating drug abuse and recovery.