IN FOCUS: Fung Hiu Lam, Messengers of Peace Hero
Fung Hiu Lam, more fondly called as Helen, is the chairlady of the National Rover Scout Council of Scout Association of Hong Kong. During her term, she focused on organising a service project aiming to promote a more integrated community for ethnic minorities, particularly the South Asian youth living in Hong Kong.
Hong Kong has a multi-cultural society where different nationalities reside including the Indians, Indonesians, Pakistanis, Nepalese and others who are facing challenges because of cultural differences and language barrier. Many of these immigrants cannot speak Cantonese or Mandarin, which are the major languages in the country, making it difficult for them to communicate freely. This affects their competitiveness compared to the nationals who can speak the languages fluently. Moreover, such barrier has consequences on their self-confidence resulting in difficulties in earning a living. They become vulnerable to committing crimes or discrimination and exclusion in social groups. Thus, the need to integrate this minority groups into society and making them understand their rights is the focus of Helen’s group.
Helen leads a team of 30 Rover Scouts and young leaders who organised activities, programmes and workshops for south Asian young people ages 8 to 18 years old. Activities include cultural exchange programmes, education programmes and Scoutcraft like knot tying, first aid, backwoods cooking and hiking. This project aims to strengthen their self-confidence by learning valuable life skills which will be beneficial for their future.
The project targets the Sustainable Development Goal 10 known as Reduced Inequalities. The primary goals are equipping them to adapt to society, and the greater goal of reducing discrimination by promoting a more inclusive society through Scouting.
During the course of the project, Helen was able experience the core value of Scouting, “Learning by Doing” as a way to enhance life not only to the participants but also to them as organisers. They learned and had a first-hand experience of understanding the participants’ background, culture and way of life.
Helen’s project is a vital step to eliminate the barriers and prejudice experienced by immigrants in their country and to provide an avenue for the promotion of diversity and inclusion in Hong Kong.