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Kindness Walks

April 12 - Kindness Walk Report

On Wednesday, April 12th, students from Hong Kong International School, primary to high school, participated in a Kindness Walk with their families in partnership with ImpactHK to distribute food to those experiencing homelessness in Hong Kong. With around 20 student and parent volunteers attending, the event began at four in the afternoon at the Tak Kok Tsui ImpactHK community center. To start, ImpactHK’s founder and CEO, Jeff Rotmeyer, gave an opening speech explaining the walk’s purpose and why it’s important for volunteers to show compassion and generosity to those that are less fortunate than themselves. During the speech, the students listened empathetically and expressed tremendous interest in the topic by asking numerous questions.
During the one-hour walk in Tak Kok Tsui, each student volunteer, some as young as six years old, carried their own assigned bags filled with essential foods and items, such as bananas, hard-boiled eggs, crackers, water, and hand sanitizers to pass out during the walk. For the duration of the event, the group visited parks, garbage stations, and footbridges, lasting over two hours in total. In the designated areas, volunteers stopped in front of each tent or shelter to personally pass the food to the homeless, gaining first-hand experience in seeing the harsh environment the people who live on the streets have to face. In some areas, students even encountered many other elderly who were not homeless but struggled to eat enough, and the volunteers couldn’t help but to also offer them some food as well.
Throughout this event, the volunteers actively demonstrated the qualities of compassion and kindness to those in need and reflected upon themselves in many areas. The kindness walk concluded with several interviews of the volunteers sharing how they felt about the experience. In one interview, a student volunteer, 6, spoke about her change in mindset after going on this walk. She said, “Everyday day at breakfast in the morning, I refuse to eat my eggs because I think eggs are disgusting, but after today I think I should eat my eggs every morning because some people don’t even have the money to buy food.” Seeing that other people’s struggles were much more significant than hers, the student now understands that she shouldn’t waste food because she is already fortunate to be able to eat. Another student, 10, also expressed that she learned a lot through this experience and that it taught her some important lessons, saying, ” I learned to not take everything for granted because a little thing like a cup of water can mean a lot to other people.” But not only did these two students express that the walk had greatly impacted them, the majority of the volunteers did as well. Additionally, through interviews with the parents, many also mentioned that they were really grateful this event had taught their child to treat others with kindness, and help those in need. Specifically, one said, “I am really grateful for ImpactHK and the kindness walk because it is an opportunity for the kids to see how poor people in Hong Kong live, and I think in our own will we actually forget that there are people next to us who don’t have somewhere to live or enough to food, and it’s not something we can understand unless we actually see it.”
ImpactHK is Hong Kong’s leading homeless service non-profit organization, and their statistics show that even though Hong Kong has the highest housing prices in the world, the amount of money the homeless people receive from the government as low-income citizens is still too little for them to live in a home. Currently, the monthly rent allowance from the social welfare department is 2515 dollars per person, and the cost of a “cage home” is 2500 dollars, leaving those people with as little as 15 dollars to spend on food, toiletries, and other essential needs. This increasingly leads to many people continuing to live on the streets, driving more people than ever to live without a home.
Homelessness is a severe problem in Hong Kong and affects numerous people daily, thus, we hope that this event serves as a reminder of why we need to be kind to everyone around us and help our community as someone who is a part of it. From the Kindness Walk, primary students as young as six learned that they needed to show empathy towards the less fortunate and use their strengths to help others in our community. Through this event, we were not only able to provid food to the people experiencing homelessness but, most importantly, raise awareness among others and our future generations. In conclusion, the Kindness Walk event was a great success, and we hope it will inspire others to take action and positively impact the community around them.

These actions just put a smile on the homeless!