Article written by Jean-Christophe Ryckmans, Asia Region coordinator, February 2020.
Jean-Christophe Ryckmans, Asia Region Coordinator, made a visit at the end of 2019 to « Hong Kong Play Ground Association» located in Hong Kong to discover the actions, programs and infrastructures of this organization. Here’s a report of his visit.
Dr. Wan Man Lap of the Hong Kong Play Ground Association participated in the October 2018 Pilot Group in Nepal and has since applied for membership in the Dynamo International Street Workers Network. Its membership will be voted at the next pilot group in 2020.
H.K.P.A. Hong Kong Play Ground Association, has been working for children in difficulty since 1933. It is recognized by the Government and works mainly in the districts of Hong Kong, Kowloon and the new territories. It directly supports more than 1000 children (and indirectly 3000). Its field teams are made up of highly qualified personnel trained in local universities. Street actors (street workers) have a status equivalent to social workers.
H.K.P.A. is one of the most prominent organizations in the streets of the vibrant megalopolis. Its field workers work day and night to serve children and youth in conflict with their families or with the law. (6 to 24 years). Their facilities are impressive, an airy beach center, a multi-support stadium, premises on different sites of the city.
The complex political situation that preceded the Corona Virus epidemic (daily youth protests against the government in power) does not simplify the task of the field actors. Some demonstrations are very violent and the professionalism of the various social actors met is impressive. Graduates, trained, monitored, Hong Kong and HKPA social workers are an example to follow…
It is important to note that Doctor Lapman and his team have all the necessary infrastructures for a day to host a pilot group or an event of the network.
There are few crimes in Hong Kong, but young people wander around in gigantic computer games rooms where they spend the night. Access to housing is a huge problem for less affluent families, and in tiny dwellings (up to 10-12 m2) sometimes crowds a whole family of 3 generations. This obviously creates difficulties, even though respect for elders persists…
With teams of psychologists, financial support from the state, H.K.P.A. works both in the street and in the rehabilitation, monitoring and training of youth at risk.
Doctor Lapman Wai and his colleague Lucy also introduced us to a team of street workers from an NGO in Macau. Present in the heart of the historic centre, this NGO may soon join our network….