To Chung describes himself as a fireman trying to 'put out the fire' of hopelessness among the mainland's HIV/Aids sufferers and their families. 'You cannot imagine how much burden and sadness have been put on these children,' he said in a lecture to a group of students at Shue Yan College in Braemar Hill yesterday. 'These surviving ones need to look after their siblings - who may be HIV positive as well - and endure the wailing of their dying parents at home everyday ... They are powerless to do anything for their parents, except to look at how they die at home.' The 39-year-old activist gave up a lucrative career in investment banking in 2001 to become a full-time staff member of the Chi Heng Foundation, which he founded with two friends in 1998. Chi Heng aims to promote gay and lesbian rights and help Aids-affected populations. In particular, Mr To has extended a helping hand to so-called 'Aids orphans' in hard-hit provinces on the mainland, especially Henan and Yunnan . Many of these children are not necessarily HIV-positive, but have been orphaned after their parents contracted Aids and died in botched blood-donation procedures. He said he decided to use education to help these children out of their dreadful situation. So far, the foundation has sponsored education courses for about 4,000 such orphans in the mainland. Some have already gone on to universities and could now 'stand on their own feet'. 'We pay for their education and give them counselling after they have endured the death of their parents,' he said. 'The only reason for doing all this is to let them know somebody still cares for them. Perhaps one day they can help others in need.' Mr To was recently awarded the Outstanding Young Persons of the World by the Junior Chamber International. He said his aim was not to win awards, but the recognition was welcomed as it highlights his cause. 'I do hope to get more recognition for our works. Ultimately, there are still a lot of people out there who are not getting help. It's like the situation where there are more firemen on the scene, but the fire is getting even fiercer. 'But there is always a motivation to keep me going: seeing that the once-desperate children have grown up and you know you have made a difference in their lives.'