St James' Settlement

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 27 November, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 27 November, 2005, 12:00am

Address: 85 Stone Nullah Lane, Wan Chai

What: Founded in 1949 as a club for children in a temple in Stone Nullah Lane, the organisation is now a social service agency that provides a wide variety of services to children, youths, families and the elderly, as well as counselling services. The charity, through Operation Santa Claus, has also embarked on food donation drive to help feed disadvantaged families in Hong Kong.

How: Call 2571 3117 or visit for more information. You can become a member of their volunteer network. Those who perform 25 hours of volunteer service within a year are awarded a certificate.

Teen volunteer: Melissa Chiu Ka-yan, 16, is a fifth-former at St Paul's Co-educational College. She is a member of the Beautiful Life project that provides assistance to tsunami victims in South Asia and holds wilderness camps that help young people reflect upon their lives.

'I have done social services such as visiting elderly homes, flag selling and helping children with their homework. I am now helping people outside of Hong Kong. We have written letters to young people in a Thai village. Some of their family members did not survive the tsunami.

They wrote back to us and we received their letters earlier this month. My pen friend is a Form Four girl who said she was excited to have an overseas friend. Her letter did not have any complaints or self-pity.

We also went hiking with children of South Asian immigrants. Unlike most Hong Kong children, who are mostly interested in playing video games, they are more passionate, energetic and honest. At the end of the trip, a girl even invited me to her home.

I see myself as being very lucky. I have never experienced a natural catastrophe such as an earthquake or tsunami. My family members are healthy and I have a place to live, as well as the opportunity to receive an education. It sounds like a cliche, but it's true that you should be grateful for the things that you have in life, instead of complaining about the things that you don't have.

We are all born equal. But some people who live in third world countries are starving or don't have the chance to go to school. I hope to one day become a doctor and work for Medecins Sans Frontieres so I can help people.'