New Partnerships: Our New Normal
By PDG Eugene Fong, District Youth Service Chair
The landscape of youth service in Hong Kong has changed considerably in recent years. It is inevitable for our District to think about how we can keep building upon the very strong foundation that we already enjoy, to extend our reach and scope so that more young people will be attracted to join the Rotary family and get to know the values that we uphold. While COVID has presented us with challenges to carry out our programs in this Rotary year, the District Youth Service Committee (DYSC) has been utilizing the chance to build capacity, particularly to build relationship with new service partners, in order to open more opportunities for the young people in Hong Kong.
First and foremost, Rotary shall join hands with Lions District 303, to co-host a Youth Summit on 15 May. It is a project agreed between the two District Governors, working together with major youth service NGOs such as TWGH, PLK, Federation of Youth, and researchers from CUHK, Education University and Baptist University, to conduct survey on youth, exploring ways to enhance the future skills and upward mobility of our young people. Sustainability is chosen to be the theme of this Youth Summit as we sincerely believe that the sustainability of our society deeply depends on the sustainability of our youth.
Youth unemployment has become increasingly a problem as many graduates have not been able to find jobs. Our District is teaming up with the Hong Kong Association of Careers Masters and Guidance Masters this year, offering opportunities to students of Form5 and Form6 to gain work experience, in the form of orientation, workshops and job shadowing, during the summer months. HKACMGM has a vast network of members who will be good starting points for Rotary when we start approaching any new partnering schools in the future. In addition, DYSC was a core part of DG’s delegation to Cyberport on 26th March as we start establishing a channel to discuss potential collaboration opportunities, starting from a Hackathon project planned for the later part of 2021.
We have also been gaining new partners in the education sector. We have already chartered 10 new school-based Interact clubs in this Rotary year. We shall set up around the same number of new Rotaract clubs too, while most of these new clubs are community–based, we shall be partnering with Tung Wah College for the very first time. Our District, under the leadership of DG Eric, has formed a task force to reach out to primary school and will have a pilot involving 5 to 10 Rotary clubs and schools paired up to provide life-planning opportunities, international understanding and voluntary service experience to primary students. We conducted multiple focus group meetings with school management bodies, principals, teachers, parent groups etc. and have ascertained that there really is a strong demand for Rotary service among our primary schools, and are thus confident that this project will become another flagship project for our District.