Help, please! Show some kindness to children in need

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 05 May, 2016, 5:48pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 05 May, 2016, 5:48pm

At Mother’s Choice, we envision a city where every child grows up in a loving family. So it is with great sadness that we read the article, “Homes for abused children at capacity” (May 2).

As a local charity that serves the many children without families and young girls in crisis in Hong Kong, we know it is true – our city is buckling under the weight of huge caseloads of abused and neglected children.

Each situation is uniquely complex, challenging and heart-breaking, and children with special needs face an even greater battle.

The article suggests that the solution to protect at-risk children is to increase capacity of residential care placements in Hong Kong, but that alone is not the answer.

Residential care cannot be a permanent solution. There are so few placements available because most children who enter never leave. They spend years waiting – never going back to birth families and never having the chance for adoption. Most think they are “safe” and stop fighting. But no institution or foster home can replace the love of a family.

Although we on the front line often cry frustrated and angry tears, we still have hope. Because families are the answer – they are the most powerful agent of change and we have witnessed many times how being in a safe, loving and permanent family can totally change the life story of a child.

If we want change, everyone in Hong Kong needs to be involved – from the government, to the corporate sector, the faith communities, academics and our peers in the non-profit sector. We all need to work collaboratively towards one vision: every child in a loving family.

It really does take a village to raise a child, and there are parents who are struggling and children who are at risk all around us.

Every person in Hong Kong can be that friend or neighbour who shows kindness and extends a helping hand. And that is how change happens. One gesture. One person. One moment at a time. We can all play a role in making Hong Kong a better place for children.

There is a saying, “The greatness of a nation can be judged by how it treats its weakest member.” If we respond to these stories, this could be our finest moment.

We can have hope for our children. We can have hope for the future of Hong Kong.

Alia Eyres, chief executive officer, Mother’s Choice