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Official launch of "Bless Hong Kong" Campaign in February - Helping those in need, is a blessing in deed (with photos/video)

The following is issued on behalf of the Societal Engagement Task Force of the Commission on Poverty:

     The Societal Engagement Task Force (SETF) of the Commission on Poverty (CoP) today (January 7) announced that the "Bless Hong Kong" Campaign will actively mobilise different sectors to participate in poverty alleviation work and to promote the message,"helping those in need, is a blessing in deed".

     The six-month "Bless Hong Kong" Campaign will be officially launched on February 6 and will run until the end of July. Activities with different themes and targets to be held each month for the underprivileged aim to further enhance tripartite collaboration among community organisations, the business sector and the Government in poverty alleviation efforts.

     Speaking at today's briefing, the Secretary for Home Affairs, Mr Tsang Tak-sing, said, "The CoP was reinstated in end 2012 to show the determination of the current Government to tackle poverty. Each of the six Task Forces under the CoP has its own area of responsibilities and that of the SETF, as its name suggests, is to mobilise different sectors in the community to actively participate in poverty alleviation work."

     He added that the "Bless Hong Kong" Campaign focuses on poverty alleviation and promotes the spirit of mutual help by encouraging different sectors to organise activities for the benefit of the underprivileged. Hong Kong is a place filled with love and warmth. A group of people from different sectors of the community wholeheartedly contributing their ideas on poverty alleviation is undoubtedly a blessing for Hong Kong.

     The Chairman of the SETF, Dr David Wong, said at the briefing that the business sector, professional bodies and other sectors have been working closely with the Government on ways to alleviate poverty. The SETF provides a platform to consolidate the efforts of various sectors to better take forward poverty alleviation work. He also appealed for public participation and support for the "Bless Hong Kong" Campaign and the "Future Stars Programme", the SETF's major events this year.

     Dr Wong first introduced the Future Stars Programme, a three-year project initiated by the SETF. The programme comprises three initiatives, namely the "Upward Mobility Booster", "Upward Mobility Formula" and "Upward Mobility Scholarship", aiming to assist young people from grassroot families to move up the social ladder.

     He added that participating enterprises and non-governmental organisations under the "Upward Mobility Booster" help to smooth young people's transition from school to work through a combination of pre-employment training, corporate visits and attachment opportunities. The "Upward Mobility Formula" broadens the horizons of young people through corporate visits. The "Upward Mobility Scholarship" rewards outstanding students from grassroot families, especially those who have displayed resilience and a positive attitude in the face of adversity.

     "We expect to have around 7 000 young people benefit from the Programme every year," Dr Wong added.

     The Vice-Chairman of the SETF cum Chairman of the working group responsible for the planning, co-ordination and publicity of the "Bless Hong Kong" Campaign, Miss Leonie Ki, then introduced the Campaign. She said, "We didn't adopt poverty alleviation as the name or tagline of the campaign to avoid a labelling effect. As we all agree that Hong Kong is a blessed territory, the Chinese name of the Campaign carries the meaning of both 'building' and 'giving' blessings.

     "Our tagline is 'helping those in need, is a blessing in deed'. To tackle the root of the poverty problems, the concerted efforts of the community are needed. If every one of us in the community is willing to take one more step forward to share our love with those in need, Hong Kong will be even more blessed."

     She also said she hoped that different events could be held in the 18 districts with a view to helping the underprivileged and building a culture of giving and mutual help.

     The "Bless Hong Kong" Campaign will have different themes, activities and target groups each month. They are "February for the Elderly", "March for School Kids", "April for Youth", "May for Children", "June for Families", and "July for Soccer Fans". The latter targets tenants in sub-divided units and public housing who wish to watch World Cup matches.

     Details of each activity will be announced during the Campaign period and uploaded on the event calendar of a thematic website which will be officially launched later this month.

     Miss Ki also called on organisations and groups to apply for their activities scheduled to be held between February and July and consistent with the campaign's objectives, and other poverty alleviation activities to be launched specially in support of the "Bless Hong Kong" Campaign, to be incorporated into the event calendar of the Campaign. The activities could be in any format but they should target the underprivileged including the elderly, members of grassroot and low-income working families (particularly young people), the disabled, new arrivals, ethnic minorities, single-parent families and students with special educational needs, etc. Such activities should start in the first half of the year, but may end beyond the six-month campaign period.

     The SETF has so far received notice of about 500 poverty alleviation activities from the business, professional, social welfare, district and other sectors. The organisations or bodies will be responsible for the planning and budgets of their activities.

     The campaign logo was also unveiled at the briefing session today. The logo, symbolising mutual help, adopts a Chinese character "fuk" which means "blessing", and uses four of these characters to convey the message that "blessings" should be treasured, created and accumulated to promote a caring, mutually helping, inclusive and supportive spirit. The logo is to create a unique image for the "Bless Hong Kong" Campaign and help promote the Campaign.

     The SETF will also commission the University of Hong Kong to conduct an Altruism Index Survey to see how enthusiastic Hong Kong people are about helping others. The survey results will provide objective data for the public to comprehend the level of mutual help and solidarity in society and encourage people to participate in altruistic activities.

     The "Bless Hong Kong" Campaign has been already very well received by all sectors before its official launch. Activities planned include 8 000 entry tickets for low-income families to watch two Lunar New Year football matches on the first and fourth day of the Lunar New Year. As an opening event of the "Bless Hong Kong" Campaign, Cathay Pacific Airways has generously dedicated the Cathay Pacific Community Flight 2014 to be launched on January 26 to the Campaign and will invite 180 people from underprivileged single-parent families to join. The four electronic media organisations (i.e. TVB, ATV, Cable TV and NowTV) have also agreed to be the supporting media organisations of the "Bless Hong Kong" Campaign.

Ends/Tuesday, January 7, 2014
Issued at HKT 18:55


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