Taking a stand for a more caring society
Small Actions, Big Differences' was a community care campaign open to all secondary schools. The competition was part of the Social Enterprise Summit 2011, supported by the government and sponsored by the Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust.
A total of 10 secondary schools participated in workshops and visited local social enterprises before coming up with their own social enterprise projects.
The winners were 13 students from Heung To Middle School, who explored the issue of socially withdrawn youths.
'We've seen some classmates shut themselves off to such an extent they stopped coming to school at all,' said team member Fung Ting-ting, a 15-year-old Form Four student.
'We know the problem of social withdrawal exists among young people, but few people seem to know about [its scale].'
The team interviewed teenagers who suffered from the condition, and social workers. 'We learned from a social worker that if a person cuts off communication with his family and friends for more than three months, they are considered socially withdrawn and need help,' said 16-year-old Tsoi Yuen-wa.
'We talked to one teenager who didn't like school because he was bullied a lot,' Yuen-wa added. 'He just wanted to stay home to play video games all day. It went on for months until his mum got worried and contacted a social worker for help.'
'I think deep down these socially withdrawn youngsters want someone to care for them,' Ting-ting said. 'We should offer them care and support. This teenager received help from his mother and a social worker, so he was able to resume a normal life.'
Last summer, the group put on a performance on Sai Yeung Choi Street in Mong Kok to help raise awareness of the issue. They also handed out leaflets and set up a Facebook page.
In second place were 10 Form Four students from King's College. They did a project exploring ways to support small and medium enterprises (SMEs), such as grocery stores and restaurants.
'We chose the topic because we know SMEs are facing fierce competition from chains,' said Edward So Hoi-san.
'In one place we noticed that two Wellcome shops were just 50 steps away from each other,' added his classmate Sunny Hung Yee-sun.
The students talked to some shop owners in the Western District. They walked from Kennedy Town to Central to compare prices offered by SMEs to those offered by big corporate groups.
The students hope their efforts will encourage more people to buy from small businesses.
'If we don't support our local stores and businesses, we will see a monopolised market with standardised goods and a lack of choice for consumers,' said Matthew Chan Tai-hei.
The students also developed an innovative board game called Domination, in which each player takes on the role of the government, a big developer, an SME owner or a customer. They need to reflect on their actions and choices. The game will be available next year.
To learn more about this year's winners, visit http://ses-sabd.com
Application for next year's competition closes on January 6. For details, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org