Bringing Balance To Hong Kong
Skyrocketing property prices, the pressures of education and a growing gap between the haves and have-nots…These are some of the issues on everyone’s mind in Hong Kong.
A diverse group of architects, technologists, designers, social workers, and young bankers have some innovative ways to tackle these social issues with commercial models.
Here’s a sneak peek at four of these social enterprises:
ALCHEMIST - Formed by a team of young designers and creatives, Alchemist marries craftsmanship with social innovation to “Turn Neglect Into Shine”. They believe in discovering the beauty of the mundane and converting it into something that is both functional and elegant. For instance, the Can Watch, which is truly a fashion statement, is made of discarded cans. They also engage people with disabilities and special needs at their sheltered workshops.
DOMAT - A group of architects are banding together to improve the living standards of underprivileged communities. By applying architectural principles in design and home modifications, they offer innovative ways to make the most of limited space. They work with people living in village squatter houses, cooperative housing and sub-divided houses to make sure no one is locked out of affordable housing.
TEACH4HK - Founded by a group of committed young leaders and bankers in 2013, Teach4HK enlists outstanding university students to serve in schools with underprivileged students through a one-year full time teaching fellowship. Teach4HK also partners with organisations to provide leadership and career opportunities to nurture their staff to become leaders with empathy.
TALK-NOW – Without a sign language translator, a piece of paper and a pen (while slow) are usually the only available means for the deaf or mute to communicate. “Talk-now” is a glove-like device which converts sign language to sound and text, thus helping the public understand them. This cuts communication time by half and helps save on the cost of hiring a human translator.
These are four of the 12 social enterprise projects selected for the DBS Social Enterprise Advancement Grant in this August for a total grant fund of HK$2 million to launch their projects. They are also eligible for further 1-on-1 fund matching from the Hong Kong Government’s Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship Development Fund.
If you want to find more about socially conscious living in Asia, check out Asia For Good's social enterprise directory.
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