SOTY 21/22: Teen’s contributions in Hong Kong and abroad – second-hand bookstore, podcast, sustainable shop directory

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  • Hannah Bailey Cherry worked with Filipino NGOs to deliver books to underprivileged children, and her idea for reselling used titles has spread to Brazil and Türkiye
  • Pupil from Li Po Chun United World College is this year’s winner in the community contributor category of the Student of the Year (SOTY) Awards
Angel Woo |
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Hannah Bailey Cherry founded Rebooked in 2019 as an online platform and opened a physical shop in 2021. Photo: Xiaomei Chen

Seeing pictures of underprivileged children in the Philippines reading books donated by her self-funded bookstore Rebooked, Hannah Bailey Cherry is delighted that she has been able to provide much-needed resources to the needy while promoting sustainable consumption and waste reduction.

Hannah, who is now 17 and studying at Li Po Chun United World College, first started her bookstore online in August 2019, mainly selling second-hand English children’s books.

Two years later, her business has expanded with a team of 20 people as well as the opening of a bricks-and-mortar bookstore in Sheung Wan. Some of the books were distributed among ethnic minority families and poor students in the city through collaboration with schools, corporations and non-governmental organisations.

Hong Kong teen shares how she opened her own store for used books

Now, Hannah is helping students abroad. Working with NGOs in the Philippines, she delivered a batch of books to underprivileged children there.

“It gives me so much joy receiving photos of the kids reading,” said Hannah, who won the community contributor category of the Student of the Year (SOTY) Awards.

Her idea seems to have spread as students from as far away as Brazil and Türkiye emailed her earlier this year volunteering to operate branches of Rebooked in their countries.

“Rebooked is like my baby, it is really fun to see it growing up and expanding,” she said. “It feels like what I am doing really matters. People look up to it and want to bring it to their own community.”

Hannah said she would help her partners in Türkiye kick-start the project by sending some books to them, while those in Brazil had already set up donation boxes in restaurants for collecting second-hand books.

The teenager is encouraging other young people to chase their dreams – she and her friend have started a podcast named Never Too Early, interviewing youngsters who excel in different fields.

Hannah has also co-founded EcoGo with four teenagers. It is a website that provides information on sustainable businesses in Hong Kong, helping people to buy environmentally friendly products.

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“As young people, we know that our actions right now in regards to the environment will impact us in the long term,” she added.

“Every year, there are crazy statistics showing how the Earth is dying – that is very scary to see, so I want to do my part.”

This year’s SOTY Awards is organised by the South China Morning Post and sponsored by The Hong Kong Jockey Club.

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