Hong Kong is full of ambitious and socially conscious young people (if our very own Student of the Year is any indication), but they don’t know where to start.
Hong Kong charity The Children’s Medical Foundation set up a programme last year to try and give some of those students a better idea of their options, called the Social Impact Fellowship. Not for the faint-hearted, the intensive four-week programme combines elements of service learning and internships, and focuses on nonprofit leadership, investment management, and the field of medicine both in metropolitan Hong Kong and in rural China.
Joshua Chen, 17, from Chinese International School, was one of the Fellows from the inaugural programme last year. “We were constantly encouraged to think socially about how we can employ our resources in creating something that benefits those who are in need in the greater society,” he said.
Akika Altman, 15, of Hong Kong International School also took part in 2018. She said: “The amount of exposure to finance I received was extremely unique; I was surprised by how little I had known before walking in. No one had taught me simple concepts such as managing credit before, [but the Fellowship helped me learn] about money and the importance of responsible investing.”
Joshua found that he not only gained new skills, but also found out how they’re all related and relevant to each other.
“Not only did we learn about financial investments, law, medicine and fundraising, but more importantly, [learned how] this practical knowledge and these skills link to a bigger picture,” he said.
Estella Huang Lung, the foundation’s CEO, said she was pleasantly surprised by how well the teens handled themselves in adult environments. “We and those in the business community were impressed at how adeptly and maturely the Fellows handled themselves in corporate environments, surrounded by critically ill babies in emergency care and in impoverished rural settings so disparate from their own urban setting,” she said.
“The Children’s Medical Foundation Social Impact Fellowship aims ... to cultivate the next generation of socially responsible leaders with the skills and understanding needed to lead impactful personal and professional lives,” she added. “Also, it gives students real-life exposure to a wide variety of career options.”
“Reflecting on what we have achieved now compared to the beginning of the programme, I think it is incredible how much our Fellows have done and the [effort we invested] in honing our skills to further the development of the endowment fund, as well as the CMF mission that we all dearly believe in,” Joshua added. “Seeing the burning passion in my Fellows inspires me to go that extra mile in creating a positive change for the people around me."
For more information about the Children's Medical Foundation Social Impact Fellowship, check out their website. And for the opportunity to take part in this life-changing programme, apply here. The deadline for applications is 5pm on Monday, March 25.