On behalf of the Directors, we would like to welcome you to the third edition of our Newsletter, M.E.F. Unfortunately, the two parties for May at the Hans Andersen Club and the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Hong Kong had to be postponed because the Social Welfare Department have only given permission for limited activities to be conducted in any Centres they support financially. We are hoping to add more parties in the weeks to come in the hope that soon we will be able to achieve 2/3 parties per weekend. With over 250,000 children in Hong Kong officially living on or below the poverty line, there has never been a greater need for birthday happiness!
SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST RESPONSES
In the last issue of M.E.F. we informed our Supporters and Volunteers that Mr. Edward Fernandes was interviewed by Ms. Kylie Knott a Reporter at the South China Morning Post on 22nd March, 2022 by Zoom. The article appeared online on 22nd March and in the Sunday magazine on 25th March. Ms. Knott thought that Birthday Happiness Asia is a “worthy cause” and would generate a lot of interest. This has proven true with many people and corporations offering to support us with donations and wanting to be Volunteers at future parties. Below are just some of the responses we received and what attracted them to Birthday Happiness Asia Ms. Eva Lo from Eva Lo Training wrote: “I was very touched reading about Birthday Happiness Asia in SCMP. Children depend on adults to provide them with a happy and healthy childhood. Some low-income families do not have the resources to do this well. I think those of us with MORE should do what we can for those of us with LESS.” Eva has also Volunteered to help at our next Party and give all participants a goodie bag. Thank you very much.
Lorita Ho wrote: “It was about 3 weeks ago when I learnt about the existence of BHA in Hong Kong from the South China Morning Post on a Sunday. The title of the article attracted my attention and so I read on. When I understood the purpose and the meaning of BHA, I immediately wanted to apply to be a volunteer to be a part of this club. Simply because I believe every child deserves a well-celebrated birthday regardless of his or her family background, and a birthday party with cake reminds a child there is always "Love and Support" around the world. Let me share my background here too. I was born in HK in the 70's. Being the youngest in the family, I was always showered with love by my mum and dad and siblings and always had a birthday cake ordered for me every year. I went to the UK to study Pharmacy when I was 19 years old (haha, then they could not send me any birthday cake from HK). Trained as a pharmacist, I worked in the community pharmacies in the south coast of England for about 10 years before returning to HK. Before Covid, I love travelling and enjoy long weekends to learn about different cultures in other Asian countries. I like music, arts and crafts as well as science being my everyday work area. I do not have children of my own so it would be my pleasure to share my humble life experience with children and young people whom I cross paths with.”
NEW TEAM LEADER
Ms. Fiona Wei has kindly volunteered to be a Team Leader for Birthday Happiness Asia. Fiona is from just outside Shenzhen and is keen to take our concept to her home town. Fiona is going home for a short holiday next month and is planning to reach out to local friends and an ex-teacher and have a trial party in a local orphanage. Fiona wrote: “Hello, I'm Fiona from China. I was deeply attracted by the mission of birthday happiness when I first heard it. On my birthday, my family will prepare cakes and celebrate my birthday. It's my most memorable and happiest day of the year. So, I fully understand the importance of birthdays for kids. I hope every kid can have a nice and happy birthday. So, I became a volunteer for birthday happiness, hoping to bring happiness and create good memories for those children who can't enjoy a happy birthday because of their family situation. I'm glad I can help and organize the birthday happiness parties. When I saw the children's smiles, I felt my world was lit up.”
SOCIAL WELFARE DEPARTMENT ADVISORY
On 12th May, the Social Welfare Department issued an advisory to all Centres they support financially. They advised all welfare service units subsidised by the Department can resume normal operations starting Monday, 16th May. To minimise the risk of infections, the Department strongly recommends various services will still be provided on an appointment basis; groups may be conducted online or in accordance with the prohibition on group gatherings in force at the time under the Prevention and Control of Disease (Prohibition on Gathering) Regulation (Cap. 599G). Our Partnering Organisations will follow the instructions of Social Welfare Department and they are not permitting any gatherings of more than 8 people per room at this stage. Paradoxically this is good news as the Social Welfare Department is moving from their hard-line prohibition of no gatherings and hopefully will relent and allow us to conduct parties from the middle of June onwards. If you wish to read the Advisory please go to: - https://www.info.gov.hk/gia/general/202205/12/P2022051100491.htm?fontSize=1
BOYS’ AND GIRLS’ CLUB PROPOSED PARTY
With the improving Covid situation in Hong Kong and the latest Advisory from the Social Welfare Department, the Directors and OIC of the Association have suggested our first party with them on 25th June 2020 from 3.00 pm for 90 minutes in their Tin Shui Wai Small Group Home. We are confident that that this party will proceed as planned with the greatly improving situation in Hong Kong. However, with limited space in the Group Home we may have to restrict the number of Volunteers to 3 or 4. We will update all our Friends and Supporters later. FUNDING COMMITTEE With the present situation in Hong Kong with Covid, we are unable to conduct any joyous parties. However, we are hoping that our first party of The Year of the Tiger will be with the Boys’ and Girls’ Club. As restrictions are gradually being removed by the government we are hoping very quickly to be able to conduct at least 2/3 joyous parties per weekend. Sad to say that with over 250,000 children officially living on or below the poverty line, there has never been a greater need for birthday happiness. If we were to pay for each party, the average cost would be about HK$5,000. We will also have to arrange for more Volunteers, Team Leaders and Donations. Many thanks to Ms. Alex Garcia, Mr. Andrew Eden, Mr. Mark Geary and Mr. David Strestfield for agreeing to serve on a voluntary basis on a Funding Committee. Together they will explore how to raise funds for future parties and make Birthday Happiness Asia a viable long-term project helping thousands of less fortunate children in Hong Kong.
DONATION OF TOYS
Following the publication of the South China Morning Post many people were touched by the objectives of Birthday Happiness Asia and contacted us with offers of help with being Volunteers, Catering etc. Ms. Tracy Wut, a pro-bono/CSR partner at an international law firm has kindly donated some wonderful toys including a Spiderman Art Case and Comic Action figures. Thank you very much.
WIX APRIL ANALYTICS
The publication of the South China Morning Post article has generated a considerable amount of interest in Birthday Happiness Asia as witnessed by the statements above A WIX analysis of our website has shown that Site Sessions grew by 81%; Post Views grew by 700% and Active Leads grew by 267%. These tremendous figures are not only due to a wonderful website designed by Andrew Spires but also more interest in Birthday Happiness Asia and the concept behind it thanks to the article by Ms. Knott. If anyone is able to help us get more publicity, can you please contact us. Thank you.
In the last issue of M.E.F. we informed our Supporters and Volunteers that the Caritas Centre in Caine Road was looking for old electronic items like computers, iPads, printers etc. Following our appeal on behalf of Caritas we received an appeal from the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Hong Kong. The Officer in Charge, Ms. Joyce, Pui Yu wrote to us: “While the fifth wave of COVID-19 has begun to show signs of easing, its impact on Hong Kong continues to be felt by the public, in particular the underprivileged, who are finding it increasingly difficult to afford three basic meals. While the pandemic is starting to ease, our society is still far from a full recovery, as shown by the increase in the unemployment rate, commodity prices and other ‘aftermaths’. During this time, the underprivileged are the worst hit. We are therefore focusing on collecting children face masks, cellular SIM cards and meal coupons (e.g. Fairwood, McDonald's, 7-11) and distribute to those deprived kids, teenagers and families in need. We hope more people and corporations will show their support and bring a touch of warmth to the underprivileged. Together we are making a difference! Thank you for helping us find the most needed items we needed.
We look forward to hearing the good news from you soon. If you are able to help Ms. Yu in her appeal, please contact her at +852 2673 2120 / email@example.comOnce again, if you do respond to her, please mention that you heard of her appeal from Birthday Happiness Asia. Thank you.