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Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Hong Kong Volunteer Award recognizes outstanding volunteers and organizations that care for society

The Home and Youth Affairs Bureau and the Agency for Volunteer Service have first co-organized the territory-wide Hong Kong Volunteer Award (HKV-Award) this year to recognize the contributions and achievements of outstanding volunteers, youth volunteers and volunteer groups, corporations, organizations from different sectors, housing estates and schools, and cross-sectoral partnership projects. The award presentation ceremony was held on 10 December at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre.
The Award echoes the direction of Hong Kong government’s policy in motivating more people, particularly the youth, to participate in volunteering and care for the under-privileged, and in uniting the power from the community to build a caring and inclusive society. The ceremony gathered eminent guests from government and business sectors as well as academia, to serve as judges and committee members. As a widely-recognised, impactful, and credible volunteer award, the scheme received an overwhelming number of nominations, with wide support from different sectors and industries.

Honorable guests included Chief Secretary for Administration, Mr Chan Kwok-ki, Permanent Secretary for Home and Youth Affairs, Ms Shirley Lam, Under Secretary for Housing, Mr Victor Tai, Director of Home Affairs, Mrs Alice Cheung, and Chairman of the Agency for Volunteer Service, Ms Melissa Kaye Pang, as they witnessed the presentation of over 8,0000 awards, including Outstanding Volunteer/Group, Outstanding Youth Volunteer/Group, Outstanding Corporate/Non-commercial Organization, Outstanding Collaboration Project, Heroic Volunteer Award, Volunteer Hours Award, Individual Volunteer Hours Award, Long Service Award, Outstanding Caring Estate and Outstanding Caring School, and more.

“Volunteers are dedicated to serving the community in a selfless way. Showing care to others, they demonstrate the virtue of humanity and play an important role in building a harmonious society. Creating role models to the public, the awardees will surely help inspire more people to become volunteers,” says Melissa Pang, Chairman of Agency for Volunteer Service at the ceremony. “AVS will continue to work together with various sectors to further promote volunteering and to build a caring society.”

The ceremony highlighted a few exceptional volunteer acts. Ng Yuk Lan, winner of the Heroic Volunteer Award, is a regular blood donor who enrolled for bone marrow donation to a stranger two years ago. Knowing that her bone marrow was a complete match to a patient suffering from acute leukemia, she decided to donate her bone marrow with no hesitation, generously giving the patient a new lease of life. Her selfless spirit has inspired many of her colleagues in the Customs Department to donate blood with more enthusiasm.

Firefighter Lee Ho Yin, another winner of the same award, saved an old man’s life one day when he found him passed out on the street. By immediately performing CPR on him, Lee sustained the old man’s breathing until paramedics arrived to take him to hospital.

The youngest among all awardees is 13-year-old secondary school student Clarisse Poon, one of the winners of the Outstanding Youth Volunteer Award who set up a volunteer group called Light Their Rights to provide help to those in need. The passionate heart to serve the poor on a sustainable and long-term basis propelled Clarisse to organize volunteer activities, such as free language and debate classes, drama training and public speaking training, and distribute aid packages for homeless people on a regular basis. The organization has recruited over 100 youth volunteers and served over 600 underprivileged people.

Another awardee of the Outstanding Youth Volunteer Award, CUHK student Michael Chan, has suffered from brain cancer and facial paralysis since young, Feeling deeply with his past experience, he founded the volunteer group Companion HK in 2020 to provide a platform in the hope of gradually changing the public’s stigmatized view on mental disorders.

Kiang Lok Man, winner of the Outstanding Volunteer award, was once a troubled teen having to deal with his dad’s crippling debt problems, his parent’s divorce, drug abuse and congenital language impairment. He eventually recovered and became healthy again by receiving care and assistance from various volunteers during his darkest hours. Understanding the obstacles and challenges drug addicts and their families face, he is now committed to actively volunteering for drug rehabilitation services, and supports the hearing-impaired and educational initiatives.

The awardee list also includes non-profit organizations like The Samaritans that offered psychological counseling and 24-hour hotlines and email services to people affected by the pandemic. Also, the Caring School Award was presented to 106 schools and the Outstanding Caring School Award was presented to 10 schools in recognition of their effort to encourage and nurture their students to help the underprivileged in the community. There are 370 estates awarded as the Caring Estate and 10 estates are awarded as the Outstanding Caring Estate.

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