Can the Community Care Fund help the needy?
Elaine Yu, 15, Creative Secondary School
Since the Community Care Fund was established in October, there have been some huge controversies. Some say the fund can ease people's burdens, but others complain it is just the government's cure-all for social problems, such as the gap between the rich and the poor.
According to its website, communitycarefund.hk, the fund is meant to help people with economic difficulties, in particular, those who fall outside the social safety net. But I am not sure how the fund can help poor people while taking away resources from other charitable organisations.
The fund is similar to major charities such as the Community Chest of Hong Kong, which relies on donations from the business sector. Their services will overlap, creating unnecessary competition for limited resources. Doing the same work as other charities cannot help the needy; it just creates more inconvenience.
And though the fund is supposed to help people who don't receive financial assistance, the government has not provided details about the new scheme. What is the point if we don't even know who the recipients will be?
Under one of its programmes, the fund will provide subsidies to students from low-income families to participate in learning activities outside Hong Kong. I think this is rather absurd. Why should the fund help finance students' trips abroad when some of them haven't even been to Central? If the Community Care Fund is not spending money on those who are most in need of help, I can't see it being of any use to the city's underprivileged class.
Ronald Ling, 20, University of Hong Kong
The Community Care Fund can definitely help the needy. The fund was set up by the Hong Kong government in response to public demand for more comprehensive welfare services.
It actually plays a unique role in the welfare system, supporting different programmes that help people in need.
Obviously, the fund cannot solve poverty throughout Hong Kong, so it targets specific populations. Many of its policies are constantly criticised for not covering all of the city's poor.
The fund aims to boost existing assistance from the government and other charitable organisations. It can initiate new programmes and manage or supervise schemes that can help people who have been overlooked in the past.
Many people doubted the fund's ability to secure donations. There have been difficulties in this area, and this could be because of inadequate support from the city's wealthier citizens.
This is indeed one of the purposes of the fund. It aims to build and nurture a loving and caring culture in the community.
This bold move by the Hong Kong government can truly raise awareness about the need to help the underprivileged.
Poverty can never be resolved without support from the whole of society. The creative and maybe less eye-catching programmes such as the Community Care Fund can definitely serve this need.
The poor will benefit if society can show its support and recognition of the Community Care Fund.