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  • Aug 2, 2014
  • Updated: 9:34am
NewsHong Kong
WELFARE

Poor children say government has not met needs for housing, education

Rights association raises score on government action, but cites gaps in housing and education

PUBLISHED : Monday, 13 January, 2014, 4:59am
UPDATED : Monday, 13 January, 2014, 4:59am

Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying's administration has failed to effectively address the plight of underprivileged children in the past year, according to a children's rights concern group.

A group of underprivileged children from the Society for Community Organisation's Children's Rights Association gave the government 24 marks out of 100 in the annual report of the Civil Children's Ombudsman - up from six out of 100 in 2012, but still a failing grade.

The improvement was largely due to the setting of an official poverty line in September, the group said, but it said more needed to be done in terms of housing, education and medical care for low-income families.

In its top 10 concerns for this year, the group urged the government to do more to help immigrant mothers and reuniting families get by, instead of "discriminating" against them, and to follow other developed countries in establishing an independent children's commission that would advocate for children's rights.

"The interests of the powerful and rich still seem to come first, and very little is being done to help the poor," said group chairwoman Leung Cheuk-kei, 11. "For instance, they [the government] set a poverty line, but no poverty-reduction target."

According to government data, one in five, or roughly 208,000, children in the city are classed as poor.

Low-income-family subsidies and housing-rental subsidies should be provided to all working-poor families, said Leung, who shares a subdivided flat in Sham Shui Po with her father and new immigrant mother.

Leung joined the voluntary group in Primary Four as she felt "she had a responsibility to speak up". She aspires to become a lawyer and help the underprivileged when she grows up.

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