Lingnan High-Flyers to make changes for the needy
Imminent social issues are evoking the need for change, and it will be up to young people to rise to the challenge and make a positive impact on the society at large.
In an effort to cultivate outstanding Lingnan students with entrepreneurial mindset and leadership skills, the Lingnan High-Flyers programme was launched in 2018, funded by the generous donation of HK$600,000 from Tin Ka Ping Foundation.
Winners of the programme will be granted full sponsorship for a one-week study tour to Tel Aviv, a city renowned for its innovation, start-up culture and advanced technology.
But what matters most to the contestants is the journey and the experience of realising their ideas and nurturing their entrepreneurial spirit.
“We take part in this programme because we want to do something meaningful in our final year at Lingnan. It is a golden chance that we can have financial support from the University to do something that can make a positive impact on our community,” says team Flying Sis, comprised of four girls who wish to promote the idea of domestic workers as “sisters”.
Migrant workers are not foreigners but members of our society, says Flying Sis.
According to a research by the Research Office of Legislative Council Secretariat in 2017, there were some 352,000 migrant workers in Hong Kong representing 9% of the overall workforce, and they covered 11% of local households.
“Migrant workers are everywhere during weekends. To us, they are not foreigners but members of our society. They deserve better social support for well-being,” explains the team, which consisted of four Social Sciences students Michelle IP Tsz-Ching, Karen CHENG Ka-Ka, Rachel SIN Sui-Ting and Sophie CHAN Shuk-Fan.
The Flying Sis team aspires to provide services to migrant workers in Hong Kong so as to improve their quality of life and help develop their sense of belonging to the community. To this end, in the past two months, the team organised three weekend leisure activities for them to enrich life, namely, the City Adventurers in Sai Wan, City Adventurers in Sham Shui Po and Conversational English Language Class.
“For most of the time, it was their first time visiting the temples, tasting our traditional snacks, and discovering the stories behind the streets in different districts,” the team members say. “Migrant workers are curious about everything in Hong Kong, be it material or cultural, as well as its people.”
Not everything, however, went as smooth as expected; but courage makes the difference. “At first, as we were new and lacked outreach channels, migrant workers had doubts about our activities and resulted in a low participation rate,” they recall. “We then decided to be more aggressive and distributed leaflets in person and opened up face-to-face conversations with them. And it paid back: our passion built their trust and they even recommended our activities to their friends. Word-of-mouth is the best means of promotion after all.”
What appears to be a defect may be a career strength, Gatherly believes.
Similar to the Flying Sis, the team Gatherly, formed by final year students Cecilia AUYEUNG Sze-Nga from Marketing and Anthony CHAN Hok-Hin from Political Science, is dedicated to bringing in innovative values to the community, in particular, to the elderly.
“The elderly are still capable to contribute to the society and deserve better social recognition,” the team says. “For instance, elders with dementia may have poor recent memories, but they are the best storytellers of age-old times, and so they are more qualified as historical tour guides than anyone else.”
The team is building a job-matching platform that links up the elderly with recruiters. “This idea is popular in western countries where the elderly can teach English in small groups and facilitate a transfer of knowledge in the society,” the team says.
Borrowing the idea, the team organised interest classes instructed by seniors to the community, including handmade leather and handkerchief workshops. Gatherly believes what the elderly look for is not simply a job but social recognition and engagement.
The team thanks the Lingnan High-Flyers programme not only for the sponsorship, but also the regular coaching sessions held by professional trainers. “It helped us establish a good connection with different stakeholders in the society, and prepared us for the latest trends and technological applications in elderly services during site visits,” says Gatherly.
Flexibility was another lesson learned during the process. “In the blue-dye workshop, we didn’t expect that there would be free time while we wait for the dry-out of final products. We immediately arranged an impromptu Q&A session with the elderly instructor to avoid idleness,” the team recalls.
PUP gives a new life to disposed plastics
A mighty inspiration of a poem, or a business, always comes from nowhere but observation of life. “Seeing a wide-spreading picture of a sea turtle’s nose trapped with a plastic straw raised our awareness towards plastic disposal,” say Kylie CHIU Tsz-Tung, Ella CHAN Ka-Yan, Hester LEUNG Yee-Yee and Harris LEUNG Nap-Chi, who partnered up to form the PUP team. “It’s good to reduce the use of plastic straws and utensils, as emphasised by many green organisations; but alternatively, we can also consider turning plastic disposals into something useful before they end up in recycling bins.”
To them, plastic upcycling gives new lives to non-recyclable plastics.
The PUP team aims to introduce and address the green culture of plastic upcycling to the general public through activities and events. They organised a Christmas Upcycling Market at D2 Place in Lai Chi Kok last December, teaching participants to create a Christmas ornament from disposed plastic bottles. Their next stop, taking place at Lingnan, would be the “Barter to plastic bags?” activity - a plastic fusing campaign on campus for students to customise their own products like coasters by using plastic bags brought along by themselves.
Eco-Fitness: Blending business wisdom into arts studies
Also taken place in Lingnan, the team Eco-Fitness organised a 2-day free ride of Blender Bike that generates electricity to blend smoothie at the Skylight of Lingnan in February. As much as it was a fun activity, it was also a manifestation of innovation and care for the environment.
The team aims to put forth a new type of sports among local universities that converts kinetic energy generated by physical exercises into electrical energy, also with a goal to promote a regular exercising culture in the society.
“In this programme, we have a chance to execute an innovative idea in the society. It requires good teamwork spirit. We are all from the Faculty of Arts so we seldom have channels to actualise our entrepreneurial ideas,” the team, formed by TSUI Ka-Man, YEUNG Lai-Ching and LEE Ying-Ching, says. “The Lingnan High-Flyers programme hones our business mindset, leadership, team building and critical analysis skills.”
They reveal that their writing and negotiation skills were improved, thanks to the painstaking process of writing proposal to their potential sponsors. “We also need to do a number of research which develops our resources management skills and autonomous learning,” they say.
Ringo HARRISON and Connor AUYEUNG teamed up as Lingnan Cooking Club to teach Hong Kong students Japanese and Korean home cooking. It comes to their attention that many Hong Kong youth do not know how to cook for themselves or even wash dishes. In view of the prevalence of the situation across many highly developed OECD cities, they hope to address the lack of life skills that childhood education fails to provide to young adults.
On 13 March, the 11 teams of Lingnan High-Flyers will set up booths on campus to showcase their innovative ideas in response to different social needs. Final winners after the presentation day on 6 April will receive complimentary leadership enhancement training to further prepare them for entrepreneurship.