Soon after the Chinese New Year, the 5th Wave of Covid-19 struck causing societal panic as case numbers spiked and asymptomatic cases among younger people fuelled the spread. “Young children are clearly one of the most vulnerable and sizeable demographics owing to their low vaccination rate.” explained Anthony Tong, Executive Director of the Amity Foundation (HKAF), “The early detection of infection in young children and immediate families leading to prompt medical care and suitable quarantine arrangements is the best way to protect them and also reduce compounding infection rates.” But RAT kits were expensive and not readily available. The imminent “School Holidays” added a further hurdle in getting these RATs into the hands of needy children.
After needs analyses through intense discussions with our school partners, volunteers and friends, the “RAT Kits for Needy Kids Project” was launched by AFHK in February 2022. “By partnering with local schools, which maintain accurate records on the financial needs, we were able to accurately identify and serve the neediest households.” added Mr. Tong.
Amity’s appeals via direct liaison and social media were met with enthusiastic support from individuals and institutions alike. From February to March 2022, Amity received a total of HK$635,363 in donations via its official website and the Alipay platform, as well as donated supplies of RAT kits from manufacturers and partner organizations. Major donors included the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club Charities, Rotary District 3450, Society of Chinese Accountants and Auditors, Ten Pao Holdings Ltd, Trumptech Holdings Ltd and St. James’s Church, while Deloitte Foundation donated RATs to meet the needs of 300 primary schoolchildren.
Our gratitude goes to Fosun Foundation, which made the most substantial donation by shipping to Hong Kong a total of 81,000 RAT kits and 3,300 KN95 masks to support our fight against the pandemic.
As the project unfolded, the urgent needs of the Sham Shui Po Schools became apparent. Thus a separate tranche was organized benefiting children from kindergartens, primary schools and secondary schools there. Looking for conduits to accurately locate and help poor families, we partnered with Principal Chan Free Tutorial World, which has an accurate database and distributed RAT kits in their Tutorial Centres at Tai Kok Tsui and Kwai Chung. The final tranche was sent to St. James’ Settlement, which has the capacity to distribute these kits to the needy families using their wide services network.
Amity staff was particularly moved by the staunch support of our long-time friends and young folks from the Mainland. Notably, 114 graduates of Amity’s U for Girls project, a university scholarship campaign for underprivileged female students in Guizhou, responded warmly to Amity’s call to action with donations of RMB12,556. Separately, a group of HKCCCC school principals, all long-term supporters of the late “Mountain Dog” Mr Lo Kwong Fai in his Education Projects, also contributed to the project. Their pooled effort helped hundreds of school children and their families.
Working closely with the target schools and logistic companies, Amity successfully distributed over 130,000 kits to 86 local schools and tutorial centers. The kits benefited over 29,000 households of young children receiving subsidies by the government through either Comprehensive Social Security Assistance or School Textbook Assistance (Half/Full Grant). Distribution of the kits via school partners or friendly organizations possessing accurate information has proved to be efficient and smooth despite stringent Pandemic restrictions.
The continued liaison with schools also flagged up the huge health risks to teachers and front-line staff who had to provide essential services in schools throughout the lockdown. Our appeal to protect such personnel attracted the attention of the Kingfa Sci. and Tech Co. Ltd. company in Guangdong. They promptly donated 100,000 KN 95 Masks, which we were able to distribute with the help of our active school partners to 115 kindergartens, 95 primary schools and 70 secondary/special schools.
We should also thank A & P Trading Co. Ltd., which has worked closely with us on the mind-boggling logistics for free out of their sense of commitment to the young people of Hong Kong.
Worthy of mention too was the empathy shown by our Mainland compatriots for Hong Kong SAR in its dire hour. Offers to help came from many quarters but the overwhelming logistics thwarted many such kind individuals and organizations. Anecdotally, AFHK played an intermediary role in securing donations from the Shandong Provincial CCC & TSPM that turned into tangible blessings in the form of 300 hot meals for families worst hit in the economic downturn.
Thanks to the generous and swift responses from all walks of life, Amity was able to meet the urgent demand of the needy people before the community has adequate responses to a societal health threat. In this 40-day trial before Easter, our many partners have risen to the challenge and shown what Love in Action looks like.