Caritas Community Centre

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 01 May, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 01 May, 2005, 12:00am

Where: Room 235, Caritas House, 2 Caine Road

What: The centre offers relief and rehabilitation services to disadvantaged people living in the central and western districts of Hong Kong Island. There are a variety of volunteer opportunities serving elderly people, new arrivals and single parent families, as well as patients suffering from chronic illness or mental disorders.

How: The centre has a summer volunteer training programme for secondary students aged 15 or above. There is also an Outstanding Volunteer Award Scheme with nine grades. You receive a medal and progress from one grade to the next by serving the community for at least 30 hours a year. Call 2843 4652 to apply.

Volunteer: Tse Chun-hung, 21, is a fifth-former at Hong Kong Tang King Po College. He is a winner of Caritas's Outstanding Volunteer Award in the youth category.

'Initially, I became a volunteer because of the activities like camping and cycling. But soon I felt I should give something back after enjoying the fun.

We organise activities for children as well as serving elderly and mentally disabled people. To me, serving the mentally disabled is the hardest because I don't always understand their moods.

I enjoy working with children most. It is great fun to guide them. Last summer, we organised a three-day activity to educate them on the plight of people suffering from poverty.

On the last day, we divided the children into three role-playing groups - the rich, the middle-class and the poor. The 'rich' kids had steak for lunch while the poor ones had noodles in a food stall on the street. Then we visited some elderly people living in the old districts of Sheung Wan. This made the children realise how lucky they are.

There was a very touching moment. An old man felt depressed after talking about the death of his son, and one of the kids in my group - who was only about eight or nine years old - moved forward and held his hands to comfort him.

The elderly people enjoy talking about the 'good old days'. Usually they talk more than you, so it is important to be patient and listen.

There was a time when I tried to do more hours of volunteer work to compete with other volunteers. But I didn't feel happy. I realised that the aim of being a volunteer is to serve people, not to look for rewards'