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Help each other to help those in need, Hong Kong charities urged

Help each other to help those in need, Hong Kong charities urged

Originally published at the South China Morning Post on April 26, 2016.

Hong Kong charities have been urged to work together more and improve links with corporations while continuing to raise public awareness.

“I think there has to be more synergy in terms of cross-sector collaboration,” said Robin Hwang, executive director of the Foodlink Foundation, who appeared at a panel meeting on Tuesday held by UBS at its annual Hong Kong Community and Philanthropy Fair. She said grass roots organisations needed to foster communication among themselves and help one another, as well as work with corporations.

“The corporates really need to get involved with the NGOs and government bodies to be able to support the charities.”

Foodlink, whose mission is to fight hunger and reduce waste, collects surplus food from outlets across Hong Kong and delivers them to people in need.

The foundation is a former beneficiary of Operation Santa Claus, the annual fundraiser jointly held by the South China Morning Post and RTHK.

Many charities in Hong Kong were not subsidised by the government because they did not meet certain criteria or serve the right target audience, Hwang said. “There are a lot of gaps that need to be filled in order to support the different charities.”

In addition to collaboration, fundraising and increasing awareness of specific issues remained major struggles, said Linda Wong Sau-yung, executive director of RainLily, which is also a former beneficiary of Operation Santa Claus. It helps victims of rape and sexual violence and runs a rape crisis hotline.

“We need to raise funds every year. Our staff work 24 hours around the clock to pick up the cases. We need a lot of volunteers to help us listen to our hotline inquiries,” Wong said, adding that RainLily saw a need for more community education, particularly among men.

“Many people are not aware of the negative impact of sexual violence, not only to the individual but also to their families. The psychological impact can be very long-term.”

Hwang agreed more needed to be done in terms of public education. “In Hong Kong, a lot of it is ‘out of sight, out of mind’. A lot of people don’t know that we have these social issues because you don’t really see it,” she said.

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