Approximately one million of Hong Kong’s people live in poverty. A 2016 research study by Lingnan University in collaboration with universities in the UK and Australia revealed that more than a tenth of the city’s children do not have a suitable place to study. Hong Kong is also characterized by widespread discrimination based on social, political, racial and gender issues. It is therefore not astonishing that many young people, especially from ethnic minority backgrounds, who generally are in lower socio-economic strata, face a huge range of issues, including discrimination, limited social mobility or language barriers resulting in lower educational attainment or inequalities in accessing future job opportunities. Repercussions related to poverty and discrimination affect all young people in HK at their key developmental stages, but especially ethnic minority children/young people who are growing up in an environment of systemic discrimination in their daily life and at school. The education system has therefore a central role to play to help disadvantaged young people overcome different barriers at various levels.
The KELY Support Group (KELY, which stands for “Kids Everywhere Like You”) is a non-governmental organization in Hong Kong founded in 1991 by a young woman, who was having issues with drugs and alcohol, and her peers as a self-help and peer support group. Since 1991, KELY has become known as the key organisation working with young people – in particular ethnic minority and non-Chinese speaking – around drugs, alcohol and related issues in Hong Kong. Since 1991, KELY provides programs to young people mainly between 14 - 24 who are Chinese-speaking, ethnic minority youth from low socio-economic backgrounds as well as English speaking youth from various socio-economic backgrounds, all with low self-esteem and not receiving adequate support services. Its focus is on prevention and intervention of drug and alcohol abuse. Programs are designed to tackle the common reasons for abuse such as poverty, lack of self-awareness, low self-esteem, peer pressure, unemployment and discrimination. They use three key strategies: peer support, mentorship and leadership development. KELY delivers different programs, e.g.: Get Positive!: a performance arts-based program offering stress management and social circus skills, Talk2ME: a peer support and communication skills programme for young people to support each other, SOSKELY: an outreach and harm reduction programme at large scale events, a range of Drama & Life Skills programs supporting young people to develop communication skills, emotional management and confidence. The organization is also leading some technology based programs and is piloting the Coding for Life programme since September 2017. KELY was featured as a case study in a 2017 UNODC/WHO publication on Good Policy and Practice in Health Education (Booklet 10, Education Sector Responses to the Use of Alcohol, Tobacco and Drugs).
EMpower’s 1st grant will enable the KELY Support Group to implement the Coding for Life program which will help 20 young people 14 to 18 years old mainly from ethnic minority backgrounds attending a secondary school in a deprived HK district to develop important life skills and resilience along with coding skills. Young people will also develop their own web based resource supporting positive messages around peer support as well as drug and alcohol prevention, with which they will reach out to their peers at school.
Our Underwriters pay for all of our administrative and fundraising costs, so 100% of your donation goes directly to empowering at-risk youth.