Daily inspiration by helping others

PUBLISHED : Friday, 22 August, 1997, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 22 August, 1997, 12:00am

Flora Chung Woon-fan has spent most of her career at the Agency for Volunteer Service where she is a senior executive.

The 40-year-old mother of two loves her job and is constantly inspired by the selflessness of the people she meets.

What's on your mind? Our new projects. In September we are going to Guangdong. We will take a group of artists and volunteers from Hong Kong and then join a local team to do some service in a welfare institute.

The institute is for the elderly, abandoned children, who are mainly girls, and some disabled.

We plan to give them presents and souvenirs and organise simple games which they can play. There will be some performances of Cantonese opera, songs and drama.

What else is on your project list? We are planning to recruit volunteers to go to China to rebuild dilapidated secondary schools. We are seeking donors for funds for the project. It costs $300,000 to rebuild one school in the countryside. This pays for the infrastructure: the school building, tables, chairs.

We also want to train volunteers to teach basic English and other skills in the schools. At the moment, we are involved with three schools north of Guangzhou. It is better to take it step by step and stay quite close to home, otherwise the operating expenses become too much. If it succeeds we can move to other places.

How did you get involved in the Agency for Volunteer Service? I joined more than 10 years ago and first worked in the Volunteer Referral Service. I registered volunteers and helped match them with service organisations, which ranged from rehabilitation centres to schools and hospitals.

I think it is very meaningful. We help people contribute time and skills for those less fortunate, and the volunteers themselves gain friends and great experiences.

What qualities do the volunteers need? They have to be mature and independent. They should have post-secondary school education. It is better if they have volunteer or teaching experience. We interview them to see if we think they can tolerate the poor conditions and will stay for the whole programme, which is usually a year.