HOW WE BEGAN - THE FOUNDER'S STORY (Part 1, Cambodia)
In August 2015, my son and I visited Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia. It was a booming city of high-rises, luxury cars, and fancy restaurants. As we rode in tuk-tuks and taxis through the heavily trafficked streets, we often saw advertisements for newly opened businesses: fast food chains, convenience stores, cafes, and even international schools. All of this was what we expected in a high-speed growing city. But during our short three-day trip, we experienced much more.
In the middle of a well-to-do neighborhood, we walked into slum villages where migrant families live in tiny metal sheds; small children naked or in dirty rags wandering in the community. We visited a group of teenagers with HIV who lived together under the roof of a charitable organization; they had been orphans since birth. We drove past a garbage dump site where garbage collectors lived with their families and built homes from the trash mounts next to them. We drove around extensive blocks of a factory park where thousands of young migrants worked long hours with low wages and lived in small shabby rental units. Their unattended children were the targets of drug dealers and human traffickers who prowled around every corner to trap them.
Such were the other realities of Phnom Penh. At the end of the trip, my son thought he would never return, but he did, after two years, and taught English to the children from the slum villages. I went back many times since our first
trip. In 2016, I started working with a local NGO, Peace Family Development Organization (PFDO), in Kampong Cham and funded a few projects for a local secondary school. With a few other friends, together we also supported
Catholic missionaries, the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul, who ministered to migrant families in the slum villages and the factory zones in Phnom Penh and two other provinces.
In October 2017, I set up a non-profit organisation, Charity Cambodia Limited, and worked with PFDO and the Daughters of Charity to support underprivileged children in Cambodia. We had four volunteers on the core committee to
facilitate projects and help with fundraising.
Since 2017, we have funded a yearly Tutorial Scholarship Program for twenty G11 and G12 students from a local high school in Kampong Cham and several university students in Phnom Penh, sponsored teenagers and young adults to
teach English programmes to local students, initiated a "swimathon fundraising project" to build an extended primary school building, and supported the construction of a new learning centre for the Daughters of Charity in Phnom
HOW WE BEGAN - THE FOUNDER'S STORY (Part 2, Hong Kong)
I became aware of the various struggles of deprived families in Hong Kong when I participated in a charitable project organised by the Caritas Family Integrated Service Centre in Tsuen Wan in 2013. Since then, I have learned more about the social and emotional issues these families were struggling with.
When the fifth wave of the Covid-19 pandemic hit in 2021, the government allowed only half-day sessions for all local schools. Then, I felt a calling to volunteer my resources and skills and offered to teach fun English classes to underprivileged children.
With the consent of other board members, we decided to expand our energy and efforts to support the underprivileged children and their families who fall into the cracks of support in Hong Kong.
SHINE CHILDREN SHINE LIMITED
In November, 2023, we became an officially approved NGO eligible to issue tax-exemption receipts for donations over HK$100. We changed our name from “Charity Cambodia Limited” to “Shine Children Shine Limited” (「明亮童心有限公司」) to initiate and support charitable projects for the poor and marginalised families in Cambodia and Hong Kong,
with a focus on supporting the holistic development of secondary school students.