Message from Chairman
Message from Dr. Lam Ching-choi, BBS, JP, Chairman of the Community Investment and Inclusion Fund Committee
Together We Have Built A Caring Hong Kong
Many people say that our older generation is more caring. I recall that in my school days we used to autograph in each other’s graduation souvenir books messages such as "friendship forever". In my own book, friendship is the most common theme. Our new generation will probably think these are old-fashioned. After all, times have changed and the society has advanced. Technology connects people more easily but at the same time render our relationship more distant.
The work of the Community Investment and Inclusion Fund (CIIF) has renewed the sense of value of a caring community. Trust is the cornerstone of a prosperous society; it contributes to social cohesion and vitality. A caring spirit connects individuals, families, organisations and sectors, and helps our community become more advanced and resilient in times of adversity.
The development of social capital takes a number of ways around the globe. There are probably no other places like Hong Kong where the government has been taking the lead to promote social capital through the setting up of a fund. Over the past decade, CIIF has successfully developed a number of indigenous cross-sectoral collaboration models, including "Medical-Welfare-Community", "Business-School-Community", "Housing-Welfare-Community" and "Family-School-Community", which have laid a solid foundation for the sustainable development of social capital.
Through projects funded by CIIF, I met some renovation workers who had been unemployed for years due to economic downturn, but through leveraging on their skills in community work, they managed to rebuild their confidence and found a new path. I also came across some elders who led a positive retirement life by mentoring children in the community and together they cultivated a strong cross-generational bond. I witnessed a group of new arrival women who used to be socially isolated but are now able to develop their social network through sharing the culinary skills with other families and reconnect with the community. They were even given the exposure to interact with famous chefs. These were the moments that touched me during the six years when I was a member of the CIIF Committee. My article in CIIF’s newsletter in 2011 testifies to that experience.
The year 2012 marked the 10th anniversary of CIIF. Over the past decade, CIIF has been keeping up the pace with the development of Hong Kong. We invested nearly HK$300 million to the community but the fruits we reaped should not be quantified in monetary terms. The independent evaluation studies confirmed the various types of collaboration models and strategies developed by CIIF were instrumental in building up social capital by effectively promoting value change, inter-strata mutual help and trust, community participation, collaboration across sectors, social cohesion, and transformation of corporate culture as well as creating opportunities for development.
In 2013, I am deeply honoured to be appointed as the Chairman of the CIIF Committee and lead an extraordinary team to furthering the social capital development in Hong Kong. The Committee will continue to promote effective collaboration models, extend the influence of the Social Capital Builders Award scheme and appeal to the general public to join our good cause. I look forward to fostering closer collaboration with government departments to incorporate the social capital concept into various policies for greater synergy.
Developing social capital is a daunting task and there is much work for CIIF to be done. I am grateful for the leadership of the late Dr Raymond Wu and Mr K S Yeung, as well as the selfless contribution and active participation of all members of the CIIF Committee, SC.Net members, project teams, collaborative partners and volunteers. Your collective wisdom and strenuous efforts have made Hong Kong rich in social capital. I hope all of you will continue to take part in and extend your network in the making of a caring Hong Kong.
With all our concerted efforts, I believe we could pass the torch of caring spirit from one generation to the next.