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This page is updated on 2006-07-27 12:04
Christian Service News

Issue 49 (October 2005)

Chief Executive's Column
Our Mainland China Ventures
Chief Exectuive NG Shui Lai

The relationship between Hong Kong and mainland China is growing closer everyday. This is also true in the field of social welfare service. As the movement of people between the two places increases daily and the social networks of Hong Kong are merging with that of the mainland, many social problems cannot be effectively dealt with by Hong Kong alone. Some of these problems result from the separation of many people from their families in the mainland, the needs of Hong Kong elderly living in the mainland and young people taking drugs across the mainland border. As a result, many non-profit organizations (NGOs) in Hong Kong are working hard to support the development of social service in the mainland. Hong Kong Christian Service is one of these agencies.

We first formulated the Mainland China Social Service Project in 1989. In 1999 when we articulated our future development direction in the coming decade, we put "to participate in the social welfare development in the mainland" as one of our five directions.

Our main strategy is to participate in social work education in China, to participate in the development of social work practice and to facilitate the development of social work as a profession.

In the first instance, we focus in the area of student fieldwork placement. We have been working with universities such as the Peking University, China Youth College for Politics, Sun Yat-sen University and Guangdong Commercial College. We support their fieldwork practice through orientation and supervision. Currently, we are offering term courses on "Social Work with Young People" and "Introduction to Social Work" with Sun Yat-sen University and Guangdong Commercial College respectively.

As far as the development of social work as occupation is concerned, we concentrate our work mainly in Shanghai. We provide training and consultation on school and medical social work in Pudong, Shanghai. We also help to establish Shanghai Lequn Social Service Agency, the first NGO providing professional social work in Shanghai and probably the first in China. At the same time, Hong Kong Christian Service also provides training and consultation to government departments and NGOs mainly in Pudong on various fields of social work practice such as school social work, medical social work and community work.

Hong Kong Christian Service also participates actively in the promotion of social work profession in the mainland. From the very beginning, we were the ones to set up the National Occupation Standard of Social Work, which was approved by the authority on 15 June 2004. On 11 June 2005, we were invited to sit in the examination panel during the first examination for licensing in accordance with the standard.

We as an NGO providing social service must face many challenges. The major difficulty we now have is the lack of financial resources to improve the competency of our colleagues in the mainland.

We shall continue to prepare ourselves for these challenges and any support you can give us is greatly appreciated.

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