On behalf of the Directors, welcome to our Birthday Happiness Asia newsletter, M.E.F*. We
had a momentous month in many ways and everything is moving in the right direction, with
even greater interest in our objective of bringing birthday happiness to as many less
fortunate children as possible.
SoCO HALLOWEEN PARTY AND TVB PEARL NEWS REPORT
A few months ago, our co-founder Edward Fernandes was interviewed by the award-
winning reporter from TVB Pearl, Ms. Jacky Lin. Edward gave some background on why he
and his Beloved wife Marilou had set up Birthday Happiness Asia.
Growing up, neither Edward nor Marilou had birthday parties. Because of this, they felt they
had missed out on an important element of growing up. When they became parents
themselves, the couple always made sure that their children had joyous birthday parties,
even if it meant the family was short of money at the end of the month. Their children’s
happiness after each party, Edward said, was worth it. Later, Edward and Marilou began to
ask themselves: why shouldn’t every child get to experience that joy, at least once?
It was from this idea that Birthday Happiness Asia sprang.
After speaking with Edward, Ms. Lin filmed the Halloween-themed joyous party in the
Society for Community Organization (SoCO) in Sham Shui Po. She interviewed the birthday
volunteers and the 18 celebrants, ranging from 6 to 10 years old. Including guests, there
were about 30 participants. The Halloween outfits were kindly donated by Ms. Viveka
Mansukhani and members of United Services Recreation Club. The suitably themed cake
was donated by Aisha from her Bakelicious cake business. Thank you very much!
Ms. Lin was hoping that her report would go out on Halloween night. Unfortunately, there
were too many news items that day and the report went out on the Saturday, 20th
November’s evening news. If you missed Ms. Lin’s wonderfully crafted report, please view it
here. (scroll down a bit!)
RESPONSE TO THE TVB PEARL NEWS REPORT
Since Ms Lin’s outstanding news report, we’ve seen a greater interest in Birthday Happiness
Asia, more visits to our website, and more people contacting us via our website. We’ve also
seen an increase in the number of new volunteers. On average, we now have about three
people per day asking how they can help deliver birthday happiness. Thank you for the
wonderful report, Jacky.
WELCOME, NEW VOLUNTEERS
It’s been pointed out that we’ve sometimes forgotten to publicly acknowledge those who
have kindly volunteered to help less fortunate children with birthday happiness. We’d
therefore like to welcome and thank our new volunteers, and will let them introduce
Profession: Kindergarten English teacher
Reason I want to help: “I love to be with children and I would be blessed if I get an
opportunity to be a part of this service as a volunteer.”
Name: Ching Cheung Yat
Reason I want to help: “I am Ching and I want to help as I have learned about your
organization last year while doing research for a project at school, and I was really inspired
by what you guys are doing. This year at school, I have a community project, and I am
hoping to be able to volunteer, because I do believe that every child should be able to
celebrate their birthday joyfully.”
Name: Merle Yeung
Bit about myself: I am a Filipino, 53 yrs of age.
Reason I want to help: “I am a HK resident and now working as a full-time clerk in an
employment agency in Causeway Bay. I’d like to be one of your volunteers because I want
to share my time and ability. I believe it’s a great way to interact and make connections to
other people and with the community. I want to share my blessings and gain valuable
Name: Gina Judy Barnes
Profession: Cabin Crew
Reason I want to help: “I am a Cabin Crew with a major Asian Airline for the past 30 years
and have met many different people from around the world during my journeys. I have
realised that all humans want a caring person who acknowledges their existence on this
earth, no matter how rich or poor they are. I am truly happy to offer my experience in life to
help others know the joys of being respected and accepted for who they are.
I love working with children and have thrown quite a lot of birthday parties with various
themes over the years for my own 2 children, who are now 24 and 16 years old. Kindly
update me when the next event is due and hopefully if I'm in HK, I will definitely be there to
share my love with the less fortunate children and everyone else in the teams.
Thanks once again for starting this beautiful initiative. God Bless always”.
Name: Shilpa Pednekar
A bit about myself: “Hi, my name is Shilpa Pednekar. I was born in India and moved to Hong
Kong in 1994 to work for a prestigious international airline.”
Reason I want to help: “Being a mother myself, I understand the value of happy and joyful
moments in children's lives. Birthdays are ‘Magical’ and are significant milestones as they
celebrate life. Birthday festivities help children feel loved and invoke positive emotions
through these memories. They give them a sense of belonging.
Volunteering and working with kids has helped me realize my own purpose in life. It enables
me to uplift lives and appreciate my own life while not taking anything for granted.”
LOVE21 FOUNDATION JOYOUS PARTY
On Sunday, 13th November, Birthday Happiness Asia had its first joyous party with the
Love21 Foundation – a charity dedicated to empowering the Down syndrome and autistic
community in Hong Kong. Despite an incident on the MTR that day, the joyous party started
only 20 minutes late thanks to the fantastic efforts of our volunteers, Crystal, Mansha, Rosa,
Michelle, Vibha and Allan, and the dedicated staff at Love21, especially Ricky and Kenneth.
While the celebrants ranged from 14 to 29 years old, the average mental age was about
eight years old. Mansha led the joyous party and designed games suitable for these
wonderful young people. The delicious non-sugar/no icing cupcakes and cake was again
donated by Bakelicious. The wrapped gifts were kindly donated by members of United
Services Recreation Club in Kowloon. Thank you all.
Love21 were so impressed by the amount of birthday happiness we delivered to their
children and young adults, and the love shown towards them, that they have given us dates
for three more joyous parties after Chinese New Year. These children and young adults are
truly special and need all the birthday happiness they can get.
HARMONY HOUSE JOYOUS PARTY
In September, we held our first joyous party with Harmony House in their Kwun Tong
Centre. Everyone loved the party so much that they invited Birthday Happiness Asia to
deliver another party in their Yuen Long Centre on Saturday, 19th November.
As the Centre has a well-established football team, we collaborated with Mr. Paul Smith,
owner of Asia Pacific Soccer School, to put on a fun football-themed party. For the firsthour, Paul and his colleague Henry gave a free football lesson to the celebrants, their guests
and their parents at the Tung Tau Football Ground. Thankfully the weather was perfect for
After the exhausting football session, the Celebrants and their Guests walked to the local
203 Restaurant, where they were joined by the Harmony House Football Team, Coaches,
Social Workers and Volunteers for a wonderful meal of fried rice, chicken wings, fish balls,
dim sum and tofu, and drinks like Horlicks and bubble drink. Before eating, the Celebrants
made a wish, blew out the candles and cut a wonderful football-themed cake kindly
donated by Mrs. Adriane Rysz. The wrapped presents were donated by the United Services
Recreation Club. Many thanks to everyone for a truly enjoyable joyous party.
NEW PARTNERING ORGANISATION: ZUBIN FOUNDATION
Ms. Vibha Karnik, Partnership Manager from the Zubin Foundation, attended the Love21
joyous party as a Volunteer. Ms Karnik loves the concept behind Birthday Happiness Asia
and wanted to see for herself how we deliver birthday happiness.
After their new Centre in Austin opens – hopefully before Chinese New Year – we’re looking
forward to receiving an invite by the Zubin Foundation to deliver birthday happiness to the
ethnic minority children they help.
JOYOUS PARTIES IN DECEMBER
Because of the Christmas holiday, we’ve scheduled only two joyous parties in December.
Both will be Christmas themed. If any volunteers have Christmas decorations they’d like to
share, or would like to bake a holiday-themed cake, please get in touch! Many thanks.
The first celebration will be held at SoCO on Saturday, 3rd December from 2.00–3.30 pm.
We’re hoping Father Christmas will attend to give the Celebrants their gifts. As the Social
Welfare Department still forbids eating and drinking in the Centres they support, Celebrants
and their Guests will be served hot nourishing food to be consumed outside the Centre.
The second joyous party will be held on Saturday, 17TH December at the Tung Chung
Catholic School. Our new Volunteer Gina kindly introduced Birthday Happiness Asia to the
school’s Headmistress, Ms. Chan Pui Shan. The school is on the Yat Tung Estate in one of the most deprived areas on Lantau Island and serves predominantly ethnic minority children
from South Asian and Filipino families on the Estate. After the party, the celebrants will go
to a local seafood restaurant to eat a delicious freshly caught fish birthday meal. With the
help of volunteers, we’re hoping to have a Christmas-themed cake and for Father Christmas
to present gifts to the celebrants.
Members of the United Services Recreation Club had a collection drive for us and have
kindly collected and wrapped many toys worth a few thousand dollars to be used as
birthday gifts. They also donated over HK$2,000 in Wellcome and Maxim’s Vouchers.
A private individual in Hong Kong who wishes to remain anonymous has donated HK$3,000
through the PayPal function on our website.
Their very kind donations will bring a great deal of birthday happiness to many less
fortunate children in Hong Kong. Thank you very much.
If you’d like to volunteer, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or give us a
call at +852 9173 3779.