Speech by CS at opening ceremony of New Home Association's HOME Centres (with photos/video)

     Following is the speech by the Chief Secretary for Administration, Mrs Carrie Lam, at the opening ceremony of the New Home Association's HOME Centres today (September 14):

Mr Hui (Wing-mao) (Chairman of the Board of Directors, New Home Association), Mr Tsang (Yok-sing), Mr Tam (Yiu-chung), distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,

     I am very pleased to join you for the official opening of the new HOME Support Service Centre for Ethnic Minorities in Yau Tsim Mong District and the Sub-centre in Sham Shui Po District.

     Our community is one big family united by shared values and shared aspirations. Cultural diversity is respected and cherished here. Different ethnic groups live, study and work side by side in harmony. Hong Kong has always been a place for people of different origins to fulfil their potential, raise families and secure a bright future for their next generation.

     It is therefore appropriate that today's opening ceremony is part of the city-wide public participation campaign "Hong Kong: Our Home", which also promotes, among other things, the spirits of care, mutual help and solidarity. I would like to express my gratitude to the New Home Association for being our partner organisation of the campaign.

     Language barriers and cultural differences can sometimes make life difficult for ethnic minorities in Hong Kong. Various government departments have been providing a wide range of support for ethnic minorities. In particular, the Home Affairs Department has earmarked over $35 million this year for special support services to help ethnic minorities integrate into the community. This includes commissioning the New Home Association to set up this HOME Centre in Yau Tsim Mong and a Sub-centre in Sham Shui Po. Including these two centres, we now have a total of five support service centres and two sub-centres serving ethnic minorities across the city. Other services provided by the Home Affairs Department include district-based integration programmes, an ethnic minority ambassador scheme, community support teams, and radio programmes in a variety of languages.

     Since its establishment in 2010, the New Home Association has been committed to facilitating integration of new arrivals from the Mainland into Hong Kong and has done this with pleasing results. The Association has recently expanded its services to cover ethnic minorities, and one of the major initiatives is the opening of these two HOME Centres, which provide language classes, after-school tutorial classes, counselling and translation services, as well as a Mobile Service Centre, a custom-designed van providing services for ethnic minorities in different parts of Hong Kong.

     I am pleased to learn that the work of the Centres in the past nine months is highly regarded by service users, ethnic minority groups and local communities. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the New Home Association for its efforts and wish the new HOME Support Service Centres a great success.

     I will now say a few words in Cantonese.

Ends/Saturday, September 14, 2013
Issued at HKT 19:37