Unpopular causes the focus of HER Fund

PUBLISHED : Monday, 07 March, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 07 March, 2005, 12:00am

Action for Reach Out is one of the eight groups benefiting from HER Fund, a women's foundation that aims to fill the funding gaps for women's groups and promote philanthropy for women by women.

The sex workers' support and service group has difficulty getting funding because potential funders and volunteers feel helping sex workers or their children is not right, says Nancy Leung Lui Mo-ching, executive director of the group.

Chan Yu, one of the founders of HER Fund, says the fund was set up to address exactly this kind of funding gap for women's projects.

'Quite a number of excellent projects on women's rights and advocacy for women's needs are not very welcome or do not fall within funding bodies' priority areas or mandates,' Ms Chan said.

'We want to encourage diverse approaches to women's needs and not just service-oriented but women-centred projects in which the women are active participants.'

The fund has five priority areas that are probably the most neglected in terms of funding for women's groups: economic justice, political participation, violence against women, health information and provisions, and sexual and reproductive rights.

Fund chairwoman Catherine Ng Wah-hung says this year's theme is 'Be a Woman, Be Colourful', to showcase the diversity of women and help the groups receiving the grants to ensure women develop their full potential.

The group's progress is encouraging. Last year, in its first 12 months of operation, it was able to provide six grants totalling $60,000, but the figure has doubled this year to $120,000 for eight groups.

Yesterday, funds were granted to Action for Reach Out, the Association for the Advancement of Feminism, the Hong Kong Women Christian Council, the Hong Kong Federation for Women's Centres, the Concern Group for Single Mothers, the Hong Kong Women Worker's Association, Zi Teng and the HK SKH Lady MacLehose Centre.