Social harmony projects honoured by Sir Edward Youde Memorial Fund
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Two students at City University of Hong Kong (CityU) have been recognised by the Sir Edward Youde Memorial Fund this year for their outstanding academic performance and enthusiasm to serve society.
Lee Ho-wai, a Year 4 student on the Global Business Systems Management programme in the Department of Information Systems, and Shang Liang, a Year 3 PhD student in the Department of Public Policy, were commended for their outstanding academic performance and their dedication to community service and social inclusion.
Lee Ho-wai, who has received an undergraduate scholarship from the Fund, said he was motivated by a sense that Hong Kong lacks a cross-generation communication platform and has insufficient support for the psychological needs of senior citizens.
To help older people fully utilise their strengths and enhance youngsters’ respect for seniors, he worked with other CityU students to set up a social enterprise called “ElderTreks”.
The aim was to enhance collaboration between the two generations with older people serving as guides for local tours that promote Hong Kong’s heritage and culture in the form of oral history.
Such activities help older people affirm their value and enhance communication between generations.
“The elderly are experienced and have lots of local knowledge that may not be known to youngsters,” Ho-wai said. “Before I graduate, I wish to set up a communication platform to break the ice between the two generations by letting the elders tell their own stories on local tours.”
Sixty local tours have been arranged with a participation of about 30 seniors since the establishment of the social enterprise. Ho-wai indicated that some elders had worried whether they were eligible to serve as tour guides when they joined the project. However, after some training, they gradually built up their self-confidence, which the younger participants recognised and admired.
Lee Ho-wai thanked his CityU teachers for their support especially during the early stages of the initiative, including advice on the direction of the project, helping him and other students expand their connections, and persuade more organisations to work with “ElderTreks”.
He is now working with his CityU classmates to develop more routes for the local tours. They also plan to coordinate with some non-governmental organisations to organise training programmes.
Shang Liang, who has received a postgraduate fellowship from the Fund, spent more than five years under the guidance of her CityU supervisor studying how over 20 social enterprises could help the disabled integrate more in society.
She felt that the vocational training for the disabled should be people-oriented according to one’s abilities, arguing that people with disabilities should be given more opportunities to utilise their own strengths to get more involved in society.
“There isn’t much research on the disabled in Hong Kong,” she said. “I wish to continue my studies, offering more innovative ideas on how to promote integration between the able-bodied and disabled and encouraging more students to learn about the needs of the disabled so as to foster change.”
Established in April 1987, the Sir Edward Youde Memorial Fund offers annual scholarships to full-time undergraduates and fellowships for postgraduates. Recipients will receive HK$40,000 and HK$50,000, respectively, this year.