At Big Foot Tour, we have always been actively looking for ways to help and do our part for society. If one observes carefully, there are many signs in our daily lives which reveal the less-than-optimal living conditions in Hong Kong. Often, these are hidden behind the facade of fancy malls and tall buildings.
Did you know?
- 1 in 5 people in Hong Kong live in poverty
- At least 170,000 people live in subdivided inadequate housing such as caged homes, roof tops or coffin homes. Here’s an article – Coffin House – which was written by us previously
- 1 in 4 underprivileged children do not get 3 meals a day
- The median household income of Hong Kong’s lowest income group in only HK$4,000 per month
- 1 in 3 seniors are living in poverty. To make matters worse, many elderly workers are either being kicked out of the labour market or being given low wages and are not protected by labour laws
Here’s a recent news article from South China Morning Post: 1.3 million Hongkongers live in poverty, government says, but offers no solution.
We thought long and hard about how we can extend our help to these people. One welfare organization caught our attention recently when we became aware of the many great things that they had done for the less-privileged.
“SoCO is a non-profit welfare organization which was set up in 1972. Its funding comes from overseas churches, the Hong Kong Community Chest and donations from individuals.
For more than 40 years, we in SoCO have witnessed the various changing faces of Hong Kong’s social and economic transformation. During our daily work, we deeply feel the hardship faced by those from the poorest levels of our community. People who have worked quietly over the past decades and survived by living from hand to mouth and yet, they now neither live with dignity nor share the fruits of economic development. Under the surface of prosperity lives a community that has fallen into oblivion. In cramped and crowded cages and dilapidated private tenements are found, lonely old people, residents in old public housing estates, new immigrants, children living in poverty, street-sleepers, people recovered from mental illness, low-paid workers and common people whose voices are not heard. They have long been the targets for our service.
We firmly believe that everyone should enjoy the same rights. We are also convinced that an equal chance of development and a system which reasonable allocates social resources is the basis for protecting citizen’s rights. For many years, we have organized people at the grassroots level through community organization and social action to fight for policy change and a decent living standard.
For the people we care; for justice we act. With this mission, we strive to realize our dream: establish a society in which human dignity is respected and social justice is upheld. ” ~ SoCO, verbatim.
“Policy changes are important,” says Irene, a staff from SoCO who has generously offered us her time when we wanted to find out more about their initiatives. “The last we want is to make the people that we are helping feel that we are just expressing sympathy. We hope to make a bigger impact through policy changes. That’s the way to ensure these people are better taken care of in the long run.” She patiently explained SoCO’s perspective, whilst bringing us around to witness the projects that they are undertaking.
We nodded in unison. After all, rich or poor, young or old, all these people are part of Hong Kong and they should be equally accepted and welcomed by the society. We spent the rest of the evening discussing ways that Big Foot Tour can help. In the meanwhile, for the next 2 years, we have committed to donate a part of our earnings to SoCO. We hope that these money – however little or much – can express our support for SoCO, and more importantly, for people in the grassroots level that need help.
We are not stopping here, for sure, as we are still reaching out to more organisations and more people who are in need.
You have our word.
For more information on SoCO or if you would like to make a donation, please visit SoCO’s website directly.
Hong Kong Census and Statistics Department, 2011 & 2013; Action research by SoCO, 2011; and “Survey on Subdivided Units in Hong Kong”, 2013; conducted by Policy 21 Ltd with commission of the Long Term Housing Strategy Steering Committee http://www.legco.gov.hk/yr12-13/english/panels/hg/hg_lths/papers/hg_lths0626cb1-1371-3-e.pdf.