As a Supporter of Birthday Happiness Asia, we have great pleasure in sending you the very first edition of M.E.F, our monthly newsletter. Thank you to Marly for designing the Masthead. We hope that M.E.F will be a regular method of communicating with our Supporters who will then forward it to interested and prospective Supporters and Sponsors in Asia and beyond. The newsletter will then be posted to our website later.
It is unfortunate that Hong Kong is going through a difficult time with social distancing rules, compulsory mask wearing, the possibility of lockdowns and the government’s campaign for everyone to be vaccinated. However, we are very optimistic that the situation in Hong Kong will be considerably better after Easter.
Our first party of 2022 is provisionally booked for Saturday, 23rd April from 11.30 am to 2.00 pm in the Tai O Centre of the Hans Andersen Club (www.hac.org.hk).
The Club aims to help underprivileged children and families by promoting "a reading culture and foster parent-child relation via storytelling for children to enjoy holistic development and adapt to intellectual based society."
We have also provisionally booked a party with the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Hong Kong (www.elchk.org.hk) for Saturday, 30th April at their Sheung Shui Centre. The time to be confirmed later. The Evangelical Lutheran Church was founded in 1954 and is in "different districts and areas of Hong Kong, initiate school education projects, and provides social services for Hong Kong." They have five integrated children and youth centres.
We have also obtained a Verbal agreement with the Boys' and Girls' Club Association (www.bgca.org.hk) to conduct parties for less fortunate children they serve when circumstances permit. The Association was set up in 1936 to cultivate "a New Generation and creating the future together (through) balanced physical and mental development of children and young people".
The Association has established wide-range social services from pre-school stage to parental stage which includes 7 small group homes, 38 school stationing social work services, 20 integrated children and youth service centres, 3 children centres and 60 special projects.
We will continue working with our existing Partnering Organisations and hope to add more to the Partnering Organisations that we already work with. This might seem very ambitious but there are over 250,000 children in Hong Kong living below the poverty line and unfortunately the demand for the birthday happiness we provide is greater than ever before. Their young lives are being devastated with their education, safety and futures threatened even more than before. Has there ever been a greater demand for Birthday Happiness Asia? It may seem ambitious to expand Birthday Happiness Asia in the Year of the Tiger, but it seems that new avenues are opening up to bring even more birthday happiness to more less fortunate children in Hong Kong.
THE DIRECTORS OF BIRTHDAY HAPPINESS ASIA
I was born in Hong Kong and went to a local primary school, Bui O Public School. In doing so, it has given me the knowledge of speaking and understanding Cantonese fluently. I did a further 3 years of secondary school at the YMCA of Hong Kong Christian College, before moving to England to study and play football for Brockenhurst College. Currently I work as a football coach for Asia Pacific Soccer Schools. Working with kids aged 2 years old to 14 years old. I have been a volunteer and a team leader in past parties, and I’m honoured to be on board as one of the directors for Birthday Happiness Asia.
Matthew Bond is a graduate from England who has lived in Hong Kong for 25 years. Initially working as an Accountant, he switched to teaching some 20 years ago.
Peter moved to Hong Kong from the UK in 1994 whilst in his early 20’s. Since arriving he has worked in the service industry of which for the last 20 years has been in finance and corporate services.
He has extensive corporate management experience and is a director of several various multinational organisations. Peter has assisted with several charities over the years through several organisations of which he is a member.
Birthday Happiness Asia is pleased to inform you that the following Volunteers have agreed to be Team Leaders. They will have their own group of Volunteers that will help them at parties that they will lead.
As we grow, we are hoping that more Volunteers and Team Leaders will join us to bring birthday happiness to even more less fortunate children.
Hi, my name is Eudmarly GEDEON. I am from Haiti. I started to volunteer for birthday happiness because I wanted to be involved in the new community, I was part of and I am a kid lover. I immediately fell in love with the concept and the kids after my first participation. Since then, I get involve in as much parties as I can. I think the concept of BHA is beneficial for both party organizer and celebrants.
The joy and happiness that we get to experience at every single event is amazing. It reminds me that a simple gesture like providing a party to a young child can bring so much to the life of these kids and our lives as volunteers it reminds me that we don’t need much to make a difference and be the change that we want to see in the world.
"Hello! I am Sonya King, a Taiwanese and American student in Hong Kong. I was drawn to Birthday Happiness' mission, and am grateful for every opportunity I have to lead parties. I see the genuine joy the organization brings to children, and cannot wait to be contribute more.
Sonya King: ⼤家好，我是來⾃台灣和美國的王桑亞。我去年⼋⽉來⾹港讀書，接觸了Birthday
Happiness. 在參與的過程中我看到了這個組織帶給孩⼦的快樂。期待我能成為⼀員，讓⾹港， 讓世界多點溫暖"
My name is Tope Orimolade, a wife and a mother of three lovely children. A Nigerian student with Caritas Institute of Higher Education, studying Digital Entertainment Technology. I love putting smiles on people's faces and lending hands to the needy and desolate.So happy to be part of Birthday Happiness Asia(BHA)
Hi, my name is Justin Blake and I come from the beautiful island of Jamaica. My birthday as always been a special occasion for me and I look forward to it every year. I cannot imagine what life would be like if I couldn’t celebrate my birthday. That’s why I enjoy volunteering with Birthday Happiness Asia, because I want to bring some joy to kids who deserve to be able to have cake, play party games and receive gifts. I’m so thankful that I can give back to my new community in this way, and I look forward to throwing many more birthday parties for many amazing kids while I’m here.
SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST INTERVIEW
Recently, Mr. Edward Fernandes was interviewed on Zoom by Ms. Kylie Knott, a Reporter at the South China Morning Post. During a lengthy interview, Edward told Kylie the concept and history of Birthday Happiness Asia and our Founder, Marilou. He told her how Marilou wanted to give as many less fortunate children as possible the chance to experience birthday happiness. This is something she never experienced. He told her that Marilou knew the value of celebrating a birthday and how a simple celebration brought untold rewards to every child. Surely every child deserves that experience, even once.
Edward explained how by working through Partnering Organisations like Caritas, SoCo etc., even more children could be given an unforgettable joyous experience and lifelong memory. He also told Kylie that it is our wish to have as many parties as possible in Hong Kong once Covid has abated. Unfortunately, there are so many children in Hong Kong who need birthday happiness. The article will appear hopefully next month with photos of previous parties. We will inform you when it appears.
VOLUNTEERS' EXPERIENCE OF BIRTHDAY HAPPINESS ASIA
We are very grateful to all our Volunteers and Supporters who have brought so much to so many less fortunate children and will do so in the future. Their selfless attitude to help less fortunate children is greatly appreciated.
Below is the Testimonial of two of our Volunteers David Strestfield (MD - Head of Asian Sales at Global Investment Strategy) and Peony Yu (Senior teacher of Mandarin at St Paul's).
謝謝愛德華。 來⾃David 和 Peony。我們親眼⽬睹了 Edwards BHA 在深⽔埗為 8 名當地兒童舉辦的派對。 明顯地有些孩⼦很害羞，不習慣有⼈為他們慶祝⽣⽇，但感謝愛德華和他的志願者團隊讓孩⼦們能享受無拘束的派對。隨著派對遊戲的進⾏，他們變得越來越放開拘束，越來越投⼊。⽐賽結束後有豐盛的⻝物和飲料，明顯地這些孩⼦中的⼀些⼈營養不良，愛德華和他的團隊再次帶領他們“吃得開
⼼”。 送禮物儀式對這些孩⼦來說也是⼀個⾮常激動⼈⼼的活動，這將是他們永遠不會忘記的⼀天。我們認為常認為慶祝⽣⽇是理所當然的，但是這些孩⼦甚⾄沒有這個機會去慶祝。這個活動不僅可以幫助他們建⽴社交技能，還可以為他們的⽣活帶來歡笑、幸福和希望。 繼續運送 BHA，您正在做⼀項了不起的⼯作
From David & Peony . We witnessed first-hand Edwards BHA in sham Shui po a Party for 8 local children . It was clear that some of the children were quite shy and not used to being in a celebratory setting but thanks to Edward & his team of volunteers way of letting the children "be themselves" as the party games wore on they became more & more out of their shell - it was so nice to see . After the games there was sumptuous food & drink and it was obvious some of these children were under nourished & again Edward & his team led them to "eat & be merry". The gift ceremony was also a very exciting event for these children & it would be a day they will never forget. We take birthdays for granted these children so not even have that chance and this not only helps them build social skills it brings laughter & happiness & hope into their lives . Keep trucking BHA you are doing a phenomenal job
SOCIAL WORKERS' EXPERIENCE OF BIRTHDAY HAPPINESS ASIA
"Children are the most affected by poverty in cosmopolitan Hong Kong with its widening gap between rich and poor. 253,000 local children struggle to survive in poverty, with 50,000 children living in caged homes or partitioned homes and doing their homework on beds. SoCo (www,soco.org.hk) through policy advocacy, service provisions and social involvement (try) to improve their living conditions and development opportunities. By holding a birthday party in community from Birthday Happiness Asia, those children could experience a different birthday. Birthday children invited their friends and parents to celebrate together as well as playing games, sharing delicious food and birthday cake. The children felt very happy to participate in such party for the first time and received their favourite gifts. They had an unforgettable experience with a lot of fun" (Kiki SoCo Community Organiser)
REVAMP OF BIRTHDAY HAPPINESS ASIA WEBSITE
During this enforced quite period, we at Birthday Happiness Asia are using the time to invigorate ourselves and this includes our website (www.bhasia.org). We are very lucky that Mr. Andrew Spires www.rottenheadfest.com/portfolio /Facebook: @stormdesignHK has agreed to revamp our website at no cost. We are happy and feel fortunate that Mr. Spires has agreed to revamp our online presence as he has won many awards including 'Social event of the Year'. He will make our webpage less cluttered so it appears higher in any Goggle search.
BIRTHDAY HAPPINESS ASIA (THAILAND)
When Marilou and Edward conceived of Birthday Happiness Asia they were keen to set up an Asian organisation to give less fortunate Asian children an opportunity to celebrate their special day - their birthdays. However, they were uncertain if using their unique model would work if they worked through Partnering Organisations.
After only a few parties they knew their model worked well and could reach even more less fortunate children than similar global organisations. They then wanted to export the model to other parts of Asia and reach even more less fortunate children. We are happy to inform you, our Supporters and Sponsors that Mr. Alan Lammin and Mr. Neville Nicholson have taken on board the concept behind Birthday Happiness Asia and are in the process of setting up a Birthday Happiness Asia (Thailand). Both men have a deep history of working with less fortunate Thai children and hold an annual golf tournament for orphanages in Bangkok.
Alan is an Oxford graduate and has lived and worked in Asia for nearly 45 years. He has worked in Japan, China, Singapore, Hong Kong and Thailand. He has retired to Hua Hin, just outside Bangkok. Neville has wide ranging experience in IT and Marketing. Held senior positions in HSBC (Hong Kong, UK and Europe), Roan Consolidated Mines (Zambia), Rank Organisation (UK), Quotient PLC (London, New York, Tokyo, Sydney), Cosa Lieberman (Switzerland and Hong Kong), and PricewaterhouseCoopers (Thailand) before starting and running his own businesses.
Their inaugural party was due for Saturday, 26th March but the Thai government has implemented a strict social distancing policy. Neville and Alan have decided to postpone the inaugural party for at least a couple of months until the Social Distancing rules are relaxed in Thailand.
Both Neville and Alan have introduced the concept to their friend, Ronald who will try using his contacts to take the Birthday Happiness Asia concept to Indonesia. Slowly the dream of Marilou to make Birthday Happiness Asia a truly Asian organisation is slowly coming true. They dream of having an organisation spanning the whole of Asia from New Zealand to Israel will become a reality sooner than anticipated.
This Newsletter is a method of keeping in touch with all our Supporters on a regular basis. We would welcome contributions to future editions. Do you have any suggestions on how to make the Newsletter better?
Also, can you please circulate this newsletter to as many people as possible. We need as much help as possible to deliver birthday happiness to as many less fortunate children as possible.
Thank you very much.