Get your kids involved with some of these inspiring youth organisations!
With many issues facing our planet and communities in this day and age, it is a great delight and relief to see kids standing up and fighting for what they believe in. There are quite a few notable organisations in Hong Kong that are either started and run by young people, or are focused on them by actively engaging them in social development, education and outreach programmes. If you would like to get your teens involved in the community or inspire them to give back, read on to help them pick a cause they care about.
Organisations started or run by young people
Support! International Foundation
Led by secondary school students and founded in 2014 by Joseph Wan, Support! International Foundation is an NGO that gives back to low-income youth. Volunteers teach English through STEAM and provide programmes and events that may not otherwise be available to these underprivileged communities. Support! also focuses on volunteer development by promoting youth leadership and mutual learning.
Bye Bye Plastic Bags
Bye Bye Plastic Bags (BBPB) is another organisation and movement completely run by young people. With teams all over the world, these kids are advocating a plastic-free world. Their mission is to raise awareness about the negative impact plastic has on our environment, while promoting solutions on how to reduce its consumption.
Fiona Chiu is the Head of Events for BBPB in Hong Kong. After completing a “live waste-free challenge” for seven days, she was inspired to rethink her own daily choices. She is happy to see that more people in Hong Kong do the same and belives that modern society is evolving in a way that is making sustainable choices much easier. She is proud that BBPB is aiming to empower the youth to be at the forefront of the zero-waste movement in HK. Your teens can join the movement in Hong Kong, or choose to donate to the cause.
Climate Action Hong Kong
Climate Action Hong Kong is an independent NGO run by students from various backgrounds, most of whom are in secondary school. The team is working towards promoting wider awareness about climate change. The movement follows the “Fridays for Future” campaign led by Greta Thunberg. The aim is to push for government reforms by advocating at schools, events and other community functions.
Even after teenagers move on to university, others in Hong Kong keep the movement alive. Students Haruka Cheung, Themis Kung and Ewan Windebank are now some of the most active members of the movement and are working to make people more aware of the issues our planet faces.
Read more: How To Introduce Your Kids To Sustainability
reBooked was founded by Bailey Cherry, a 14-year-old, grade-9 student attending the Canadian International School here in Hong Kong. Launched in 2019, this social enterprise aims to promote a circular economy and zero-waste lifestyle by collecting used children’s books and selling them through its online shop. Not only does reBooked save hundreds of books from our landfills, but it also promotes early childhood literacy by encouraging a love for reading at a young age.
Bailey is pleased with the response. She informed us that since it launched, reBooked has collected over 2,000 books and has found new homes for over 500 others. Not only is reBooked expanding its team, but the organisation will start taking in children’s books in other languages such as Chinese and French, and aims to expand to other cities in Asia as well.
MinorMynas is a language learning app for kids, founded and run by acclaimed and award-winning 14-year-old Hillary Yip. It aims to connect kids from all over the world by providing a safe online environment for them to make friends, learn and get inspired. The app helps them practise their language learning skills and aims to help kids embrace diversity by bridging cultures and geographies.
AIESEC is a global NGO run by students and recent graduates of higher education, under the age of 30. The organisation focuses on leadership and management, giving teenagers and young adults opportunities to make a real difference in their communities. AIESEC Hong Kong is one of the 120+ programmes run by active volunteers and members at a local level.
Organisations with youth-focused opportunities & activities
Bauhinia Division of Girl Guides
The Bauhinia Division of the Hong Kong Girl Guide Association (HKGGA) is an organisation which aims to engage English-speaking girls from ages 7 to 16 in fun and hands-on activities that will develop their personality and build self-confidence. There is something for every age, such as Happy Bee (4 to 6 years), Brownie (7 to 10 years) and Guide (11 to 15 years), or volunteer leaders.
For teens, the Guiding Programme is a great opportunity. The Girl Guides serve their communities with beach clean-ups, visits to elderly homes, events for underprivileged children and by reading to kids in local libraries. Meanwhile, they develop self-esteem through skills training, advocacy work, teamwork and leadership development. We spoke with volunteer leader, Britney. She is a teacher in her early 20s and says her experience has enabled her to connect to an inspiring group of leaders and parents from a variety of careers. Most of all though, she finds working with the girls rewarding and it has helped her to become a better teacher.
With half the world’s population under 25, the mission of this NGO is to help all young people find their voice, take action and make an impact on important issues affecting the community. It has many activities for kids, teens and even families, with the aim focused on positive social action while incorporating skills development and a closer connection to the community. Check out its programmes “Action for a Cause“, “Advocates Leadership Team” and “Buddy Reading Programme,” to name a few. There are opportunities for young kids (check here) and for teens (check here).
Ark Eden is an education platform, based on Lantau Island, that is focusing on permaculture in Hong Kong. It hopes to restore global ecology while promoting sustainability through workshops, experiences with nature, and special projects to shift behaviour and mindsets.
One of the unique qualities of Ark Eden is its camps for kids aged five to 11. They teach compassionate living, imaginative play and problem-solving, through themed adventures and storytelling. Naturally, there is a connection to nature through farm work and caring for animals, and skills development, such as woodwork, cooking, and fire-making.
The Jane Goodall Institute Hong Kong
The Jane Goodall Institute is a non-profit foundation with global roots. The organisation focuses on conservation and stems from Dr Jane Goodall’s well-known work with primates. It has an established programme dedicated to youth in Hong Kong under the “Roots & Shoots” initiative. It teaches young people to take empowered action when it comes to caring for our planet, communities and animals.
HandsOn Hong Kong
Even if your teenagers don’t have the time to join a not-for-profit organisation, they can volunteer for projects with HandsOn Hong Kong. It’s as simple as checking the calendar and choosing from programmes which include helping ethnic minority children with homework, delivering necessities to the homeless, assisting the elderly with mobile literacy and more. These are held at different times of the day, weekdays and weekends. Some require Cantonese and/or English skills, so your child is sure to find something suitable.
Featured image courtesy of Perry Grone via Unsplash, image 1 courtesy of Support! International Foundation via Facebook, image 2 courtesy of Bye Bye Plastic Bags, image 3 courtesy of Climate Action HK via Facebook (photo by Alex Hofford), image 4 courtesy of reBooked, image 5 courtesy of AIESEC HK via Facebook, image 6 courtesy of Girlguiding Bauhinia Division HK, image 7 courtesy of Kids4Kids via Facebook, image 8 courtesy of The Jane Goodall Institute Hong Kong via Facebook.