St Barnabas' Society and Home, founded in 1987, provides services to the poor and homeless in Western and Kennedy Town districts on Hong Kong Island. Today, they have several centres around Hong Kong Island. I volunteered there for a fortnight, learning a lot about homelessness in the city, and was fortunate enough to speak with three regular members of their main drop-in centre, in Sheung Wan.
The hardest part of the interviews was formulating questions that would be insightful but not insensitive. In the end, the resulting discussion illuminated their common hopes for the future, struggles with work, and love for music.
Tell us a little bit about your background.
I was born in Hong Kong. I don’t have any memories of my childhood. I’ve held a couple of jobs in the past, but nothing now. I work as a cleaner at Saint Barnabas’.
Do you have a favorite quote or personal motto?
No – I just enjoy praying. I like to read the Bible a lot.
What do you usually do in your free time?
I walk around looking for a job. Work is hard to come by. Apart from that, I like to sing for the church.
Any songs you particularly like?
No – I like all songs. I just like singing.
Do you have a dream job?
I don’t have an ideal job. My dream is to be a lawyer someday. I want to be able to help people who need it.
How has Saint Barnabas changed you?
Saint Barnabas has helped provide him with food, shelter, and somewhere to sleep. I’ve made lots of friends here. I also met two people who are now my best friends.
Any thoughts on Hong Kong society?
I think right now Hong Kong politics need to be fixed. I don’t understand them at all.
In general, I just want people to treat me as a normal person.
To learn more about St Barnabas, including how to volunteer there, visit http://www.sbsh.org.hk.