Hong Kong news • 4 minutes
Impact Hong Kong Kindness Walk
29 June 2022
This month a group of us volunteered to help with our charity of the year ImpactHK and took part in one of their kindness walks.
And to say this made an impact on each one of us involved is a bit of an understatement.
The non-profit charity has the vision where everyone in Hong Kong has a safe place, they can call home. They work with people experiencing homelessness to help them settle in a safe home, restore their mental and physical wellbeing, and build their self esteem to help discover their purpose. Personally, I naively assumed the priority task would simply get everyone off the streets and living with a roof over their heads. However, I quickly learned during our educational walk that the problem and alas the solution is much more complex than that.
What is a Kindness Walk?
ImpactHK’s Kindness walks form the bedrock of the charitable work as everyday volunteers go out on the streets to distribute food and necessities to the homeless. It was stressed to us before we set off that they really believe in the power of kindness in tackling the pressing problem of homelessness for people that often feel forgotten about.
So off we set, still light outside with our supplies to start giving out. Now I must admit I was surprised at how basic some of these items were until I had seen people running over to join the queues desperately hoping they do not miss out on a boiled egg and banana – heart-breaking! This hands-on approach of physically handing people bananas really got me questioning my own opinions. I’ve always thought of them as an average fruit, with lychee and dragon fruit being so exotic and abundant in Hong Kong, that I never really bat an eyelid to the average banana. Yet here I was, passing them out to people whose facial expressions proved how excited they were to receive such fruit on this evening. Honestly, my heart bled a little, how can I be so wrapped up in my own bubble on daily basics as I get to choose what variety of fruits I want to eat with my breakfast when there are people in this community who show so much gratitude in receiving a free banana – reality check!
As the walk continued deep into the parks and the daylight disappeared, the homeless people had become harder to witness. Makeshift homes with cardboard boxes, old plastic waste being used as roofs and piles of shopping bags that could be mistaken for leftover rubbish but in fact contained these people’s most prized possessions. How can this be happening in a wealthy financial city like Hong Kong? We were also shown some old park benches with armrests that stopped anyone from being able to sleep on them, and the newer ones even had added spikes as if the armrests were not a deterrent enough.
I could go on and on about some of the harrowing sights we witnessed that evening, but I will save that for you to experience yourself. Because that is what is all about. Handing out a bunch of bananas on a single night won’t solve the homeless issues in Hong Kong. But a person in that vulnerable homeless position seeing you, a person, actively using your time to show care and kindness, that is what will change it. Like a ripple effect, that person may eventually realise that they are not forgotten about, that there are people, charities, and organisations out there to help build back their confidence in others, in themselves and in the world we live in.
Like a ripple effect, it all starts with you, and a single act of kindness.