Letting children find their V.O.I.C.E.

V.O.I.C.E of the Children, a THS youth program was started initially to create an opportunity for students to learn about the laws on human rights, to ensure students knew their rights and to support the desire our community had to help those less advantaged. V.O.I.C.E’s mission has evolved past the desire to empower only youth, but now also work to spread awareness of pressing social issues to members of our community.

 

Last Sunday, some members of V.O.I.C.E spent their evening boxing food and delivering it to the homeless and the elderly in Sham Shui Po, in collaboration with , an ongoing initiative started by Chan Cheuk-ming, affectionately known as Ming Gor.  Ming Gor is the owner of the restaurant Pei Ho Counterparts. Last year, Pei Ho Counterparts distributed 64,385 free meal boxes to underprivileged elderly people and those living alone at public housing estates in the district, and street-sleepers in Mong Kok, Yau Ma Tei and Jordan.

 

V.O.I.C.E meetings are initiated and led by its student members. During these meetings, it is important for supervising teachers and mentors, such as myself, to listen to what they are saying. Our students come from all around the world, but are united by the same understanding of what equality and inclusivity should look like. Our students have the opportunities to organise and run their own clubs which anyone at THS can join. We also aim to work with students from outside THS to support our goal of a youth network-united by a common cause.  

 

Two years ago, two students had the desire to create an LGBTQ club at THS. As the faculty advisor for this I was often impressed by their empathy and resolve to demand more from the rest of us. They ensured we had more books, that people were made aware of the need to be more sensitive to gender non-conforming youths. It also became evident that there is a well established LGBTQ network in Hong Kong, however, it is almost exclusively adult members.

 

Hence, one of our main goals was to create a support network where youth can ask questions without judgement or fear. Last year, we held an inclusivity conference and invited a panel of LGBTQ speakers, LGBTQ clubs from other international schools in Hong Kong and the THS community to help us become more informed.  We had the first ever youth-run and youth-oriented booth at Pink Dot- Hong Kong’s largest LGBTQ event and we are currently working on a sustainable plan to be involved in the Gay Games 2022. A major milestone, the games will be Asia’s first time ever to host and it is an opportunity for students of all orientations to be represented.

 

Our students are aware of the injustices and inequalities of the world and they are passionate about helping. All we have to do is provide some support, a little guidance and a space for them to meet and change the world - no labels - anyone can join.

 

To all students that are passionate about freedom and fairness and want to be part of a movement pursuing social justice - talk to your teachers or student council reps and start a club today.

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