Rotaract Keeps On Serving & Growing in 2021, by DRC Anita Chan & District Rotaract Committee
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Rotary and Rotaract members have always been working side by side to take solid actions to serve the community. This remains the same amid the pandemic and 2021 will be no different. The feature of Rotaract event highlights hopes to update you on their key projects this year, such as Rotaract Internship & Membership Programme and District Service Project. This month’s article sets out the missions of the first two projects in the year, and introduces some NEWLY chartered Rotaract clubs. If you want to support our precious young volunteers or would like to give any advice with your sophistication, read through the following and take a step closer to the young generation!
Rotaract Internship & Mentorship Programme For Our Student Volunteers
Career is one of the biggest matters among youth and many of them have ambitious goals in their pursuit of professional achievements. This year, Rotaractors are going to launch the Rotaract Internship & Mentorship Programme to assist our undergraduate and college Rotaractors in their career development. This programme offers a platform for Rotarians and Rotaractors of similar professional backgrounds to connect and form fellowship. Rotarians and senior Rotaractors will be invited to provide internship opportunities or to become a mentor for our young student Rotaractors.
The programme aims to provide full-time and part-time internships, mentorships and graduate jobs in this year’s spring semester and also in the coming summer. The demands have been preliminarily studied and that shows a drastic desire from them for career development and job opportunities across multiple industries, including finance, banking, marketing, engineering, social enterprises, and so on and so forth.
In order to understand Rotaractors’ expectation for their career development, around 100 student Rotaractors were interviewed and their talents, qualifications, field of study, interests of industries were collected and studied. Some Rotaractors may not have the best academic performance but their rich exposure and experience of community services and organising events have built a solid competence of their critical thinking and communication skills. The scheme hopes to match up students and jobs available with thorough understanding of each of our Rotaractors’ strengths and talents so the job candidate will most likely be selected to best fit what the recruiter looks for. Rotary’s support of any form will be sure to make our young volunteers the best opportunities if you have connections with corporates, recruiters or senior management.
Rotaract’s District Service Project – “The Visually Impaired Can Also SEE”
According to the statistics from the Census and Statistics Department, there were 174,800 visually impaired persons in Hong Kong in 2014, accounting for 2.4% of the total population. People with visual impairment face different challenges – such as community inaccessibility and unemployment – in their daily lives across all age groups regardless of whether they are born blind or become blind later in life, and regardless of the levels of visual impairment they suffer from.
This year, Rotaract initiated a 4-stage District Service Project, not only to address the practical needs of the visually impaired, but also to appreciate their abilities by making use of the volunteer network of Rotaract. The first two stages have already been held successfully.
Stage 1: Darkness Experience (漆黑中的體驗)
(Event day : 18 & 27 October 2020)
In order to allow participants to experience and understand the daily life of the visually impaired, Rotaractors have organised two virtual sharing sessions and invited four groups of speakers in total from different aspects:
- A visually impaired host of a YouTube channel commonly known for his stage name, Bread 「面包」, a visually impaired host of a YouTube channel (「面包無眼睇」) for WeTV (「WeTV 無障礙媒體」)
- Ms. Carrie WONG, a volunteer audio describer with experiences over 9 years from the Hong Kong Society for the Blind
- Mr. Gary LEUNG & Mr. Jacky LEUNG, a visually imapired runner and his guide runner
- Ms. Cherie CHEUNG, a senior social worker from the Hong Kong Society for the Blind
Speakers had shared their own life stories on how to tackle difficulties with visual disability, as well as techniques when getting along with the visually impaired. More than 50 participants enrolled in each sharing session.
Stage 2: Walking With The Visually Impaired (與視障「瞳」行)
(Event day : 19 December 2020)
Due to the pandemic situation, the original plan was changed from a physical format to virtual. Embracing the main theme of “staying Christmassy”, they decided to make handcrafted cards and Christmas wreaths with visually impaired participants from the Hong Kong Society for the Blind and Rotaractors via online conferencing. To emphasise the concept of “Disability Inclusion”, they also invited two visually impaired friends as the virtual instructors. A total number of 60 participants joined the online event.
Stage 3: Sight Without Boundaries (視力無界限)
(Proposed Event Day : January to March 2021)
To strengthen the skills learnt from Stage 1 and Stage 2, the organising committee is divided into three groups in Stage 3. In the coming three months, each of the three groups will organise various events to accompany different visually impaired persons to achieve their goals and dreams. Proposed activities include gathering and sharing stories of the visually impaired through podcasts and learning to become guide runners.
Stage 4: Together We Share Our View (共享靈魂「視」窗)
(Proposed Event Day : March to April 2021)
Gathering all the successes achieved in Stage 1 to 3, the programme will hope to show them to all members of the public by setting up booths and exhibitions in its final stage. The visually impaired would also be invited to perform on stage and share their passion and aspiration.
Sight is not the only way to see the world. With the right tools given, we firmly believe that all visually impaired can also see and have the ability to achieve their own dreams.
New Rotaract Clubs Joining Us!
District 3450 is always invigorated by new clubs – Rotaract Club of Edelweiss, Rotaract Club of Phab Hong Kong and Rotaract Club of Antorcha chartered in the first half of this Rotary Year, making a total of 80 Rotaract clubs in our district.
Located at very high altitudes and surviving the harshest of winters, Edelweiss is associated with strength and toughness. This little white flower also symbolises courage, bravery and love. Rotaract Club of Edelweiss was chartered by a group of individuals coming together with courage and devotion and envisioning to make a difference in the communities that we care for. Their mission is to raise awareness, provide opportunities, and empower individuals – to believe in their own abilities, to excel to their fullest potential, and thus influence the bigger community. Environmental Bubble, Mental Health Bubble, Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion Bubble, and Children Bubble are the four bubbles they are focusing on. Charter President Ranee CHEUNG and her team introduced the year plan in the Inauguration Ceremony on 7 November 2020. In the presence of their sponsor club – Rotary Club of Kowloon Golden Mile, and district Rotary and Rotaract leaders, Rotaract Club of Edelweiss has officially kick-started and is carrying out various meaningful activities throughout these months.
The word “PHAB” stands for “Physically Handicapped and Able-Bodied”. Sponsored by Rotary Club of Ability Hong Kong, Rotaract Club of Phab Hong Kong aims to promote equal participation and mutual respect for persons with and without disabilities, to develop diversified and socially desirable services and activities, and to embrace the concept of “PHAB Integration” by assimilating it to a lifestyle. Rotaractors have been organising voluntary services “for” disabled people in the past, yet it might be the first time to serve our community “with” them. Charter President Leslie LI (Chi-hung) and his team bring in this new concept and chance. They promote the concept of “Equal opportunity, not pity for disabled people” and cultivate an environment of diversity, equality and mutual respect through martial arts. The Online Korean Martial Arts International Charity Invitation Tournament was successfully organised on 29 November 2020. More workshops and speeches by their members and other disabled people would be arranged later on.
“Antorcha” is a Spanish word meaning “torch” in English. Just like the Olympic flame in the torch relay, it is a symbol of continuity. Charter President Alex LAU and his team are dedicated to continue their journey in Rotary by extending their Interact relationship to Rotaract Club of Antorcha. Rotary Club of Hong Kong Sunrise supported and sponsored their chartering. The club now has around 20 members with most of them being ex-Interactors and studying in different institutions. These three community-based Rotaract clubs come with different backgrounds and objectives, bringing more diversity and possibilities to our district. Let’s support and participate in upcoming Rotaract activities toget