HK$8m-scheme launched to help less privileged children

Students can receive training in private companies in a scheme to enrich their life expericence

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 25 March, 2014, 7:44pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 25 March, 2014, 7:44pm


About 7,000 pupils are expected to benefit from an HK$8 million, privately-funded programme to boost the social mobility of underprivileged children.

Launched today by the Societal Engagement Task Force of the Commission on Poverty, the three-year programme will award more than 1,000 scholarships – each at HK$5,000 each — to pupils from 370 schools.

The programme, named Future Stars and funded by the private sector, will also subsidise about 600 visits to corporations in order to help pupils gain a better understanding of different industries. More than 130 businesses and non-government organisations from fashion, retail, catering, aircraft maintenance, finance and other industries will participate in the scheme.

Senior secondary students will also have a chance to train in these companies for a period between six months and a year.

"Relieving poverty is a long-term project," said David Wong Yau-kar, chairman of the Societal Engagement Task Force. "Grass-root families lack the ability to expose their children to extra-curricular activities. We hope this programme can help them see opportunities out there and incite their interests."

Yuen Pong-yiu, principal of Tin Ka Ping Secondary School in Fanling, said children from poor families did not have much life experience and believed that the programme would help them widen their horizons.

Li Yan-wa, 21, felt the importance of trying different jobs, in order to find their real interests. After working in a kitchen, a publishing house and even a cemetery, Li joined a social service organisation and found himself highly interested in the job, in which he takes care of children with a background similar to his.

“The government policies have been pushing young people into a limited number of industries like construction and finance," said Li. "But if young people can work in more industries, they can find their dreams eventually."