Spirit of Hong Kong 2014

Nelson Yip inspires with words and actions

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 09 September, 2014, 3:23am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 09 September, 2014, 10:15am

Nelson Yip Siu-hong uses crutches to get around, the result of cerebral palsy, which affected his lower body but not his speech. He describes how, until the age of 16, he wouldn't leave the house by himself. That has changed dramatically in recent years.

Yip runs three firms, founded the non-governmental organisation Hong Kong Rehabilitation Power in 1995, and serves as its executive director. He has always had a great love for horses, and often has private lessons now, but the highlight of his equestrian career was taking part in the equestrian events at the 2008 Paralympics and being one of the Olympic torchbearers. He has won a number of international equestrian awards and is keen that other young people with disabilities should not be held back but enjoy the physical benefits and fun of playing sport.

Yip's businesses involve energy, power saving and LED lighting, e-commerce as well as acting as a corporate social responsibility consultant, and providing management consultancy for not-for-profit groups and business coaching for start-ups.

Because of his cerebral palsy, Yip says: "I remember spending a lot of time in hospital as a child." That experience made him all the keener to set up Hong Kong Rehabilitation Power in 2005. "Because of my personal experience, disability and rehabilitation are issues that remain close to my heart and where I want to devote much of my energy."

He's keen to create a barrier-free city, though feels there's a long way to go in terms of wheelchair access for those with disabilities. He cites some of the older MTR stations that have no lifts, limiting the transport options for those in wheelchairs.

Perhaps because he's had to fight that bit harder to achieve, Yip is keen to see a society in Hong Kong where people are equal and there is full integration.

"In 2008 I set up the Unleash Foundation," he says. Through it, Yip organises talks, seminars and community projects to create an equal and inclusive environment. He believes that everyone is unique and the power of the individual is limitless.

Yip is inspiring. He is a role model, showing young people with disabilities they can overcome barriers. Through his talks he has inspired thousands of people both with and without disabilities. Yip has been nominated in the Lion Rock entrepreneur category for the Spirit of Hong Kong Awards.