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Volunteering in Hong Kong: 20 local charities to support

Looking to do more than donate spare cash? Find out about the local charities in need of your assistance

Help the disadvantaged

Changing Young Lives
Photo by Power Sport Images
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Changing Young Lives

What they do: Formerly known as Save The Children, this charity helps protect underprivileged youths suffering from unfortunate circumstances. They run support programmes aimed at aiding these youngsters with their education and feelings of self-worth in order to help them reach their potential and lead happy lives. They also provide food, healthcare and shelter to keep them safe when necessary. 

How you can help: To help these children in unlucky situations, you can generously donate money through the website or even better, volunteer by filling out a form to be part of the activities mentioned above. 

Get in touch: Visit changingyounglives.org.hk. Contact 3118 6999; enquiries@cylf.org.hk.

Society for Community Organisation
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Society for Community Organisation

What they do: The Society for Community Organisation was formed in 1972 to promote equal treatment for ordinary people struggling with money, poor living conditions and social discrimination. They also provide assistance to mentally ill patients, ethnic minorities, immigrant families, Hong Kong residents detained in China and the homeless. 

How you can help: Donating money is, of course, one of the ways you can help but by volunteering you can be a teacher or a mentor as part of the organisation’s child mentorship scheme. 

Get in touch: Visit soco.org.hk. Contact 2713 9165;
soco@pacific.net.hk.

Christian Action
Photo by Adam Voysey
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Christian Action

What they do: Christian Action’s mission is to serve the poor, displaced, abandoned and the disadvantaged throughout Hong Kong and China. They provide training for the unemployed and humanitarian programmes for poor children in rural areas of Tibet.

How you can help: Christian Action accept all sorts of donations, from money and books to used clothing. As a business, you can also help by holding fundraising dinners or lending a space to be used as a fundraising venue.

Get in touch: Visit christian-action.org.hk. Contact 2382 3339; info@christian-action.org.hk.

Helping Hand
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Helping Hand

What they do: Brian Coak, who founded Helping Hand in 1978, originally aimed to help those who were living in dire housing conditions in Hong Kong. These days though, the focus is on helping the elderly to enjoy a rich and happy life. They hope to care for pensioners through good housing and professional care such as the provision of therapists, social workers and nurses. 

How you can help: One of the ways you can support Helping Hand is by purchasing homeware products from The Travelled Interior, an online retail store that includes a five percent donation within their product prices.  

Get in touch: Visit helpinghand.org.hk. Contact 2522 4494; admin@helpinghand.org.hk

Hong Kong Unison
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Hong Kong Unison

What they do: Unison works on helping the ethnic minority citizens of Hong Kong fight back against racial discrimination and inequality. Their services include promoting racial harmony and cultural sensitivity in schools, planning career guidance programmes and providing scholarships for minority students who hoping to pursue further education.  

How you can help: Volunteers are viewed as hugely important members of the organisation. Their opportunities cover a range of activities, from office administration to event assistance.

Get in touch: Visit unison.org.hk. Contact 2789 3246; info@unison.org.uk.

Animal charities

Hong Kong Paws Foundation
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Hong Kong Paws Foundation

What they do: Established five years ago, HK Paws rescues abandoned or abused animals, provides rehoming, delivers medical care and executes a Trap, Neuter and Release programme to minimise the spread of diseases and maintain a stable stray population.

How you can help: By filling out a membership application on their website you can join the charity’s volunteer workforce assisting in animal operations. Alternatively, you can step up and provide a foster home for rescued animals.

Get in touch: Visit hkpaws.org. For animal rescue contact Kat Cheung on 9485 5188; kat@hkpaws.org. For general enquiries contact Jessica Luchangco; jessica@hkpaws.org.

Hong Kong Alley Cat Watch
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Hong Kong Alley Cat Watch

What they do: Set up in 2003 by Marian Banaghan and Michelle Temple, Alley Watch is a society composed of foster volunteers aiming to rescue stray cats, arrange foster care and ultimately adopt stray and abandoned cats on Hong Kong Island.

How you can help: By offering to become a foster volunteer! The society encourages people to take in, nurse and temporarily foster stray cats until the charity is able to permanently rehome them.

Get in touch: Visit hkalleycatwatch.com. Contact Michelle Temple on 9310 0744; michelle@hkalleycatwatch.com.

Animals Asia Foundation
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Animals Asia Foundation

What they do: Founded in 1998, this international foundation promotes compassion and respect for animals and has been actively working to end the trade in bear bile, and dog meat export. It also endeavours to improve the overall human treatment of animals.

How you can help: Readers can take part in Animals Asia’s mission through registering for volunteering positions available in their office or joining their animal operations team and veterinary services via their website.

Get in touch: Visit animalsasia.org. Contact 2791 2225; hkqueries@animalsasia.org.

Hong Kong Society of Herpetology Foundation
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Hong Kong Society of Herpetology Foundation

What they do: It’s not just cute, furry friends who need help. Established in 2005, this foundation is the first of its kind in Hong Kong and is dedicated to helping amphibians and reptiles. The organisation seeks to educate the public of the aforementioned to prevent cruelty, conserve endangered species and aid research and appreciation of local specimens.

How you can help: The society accepts donations, whether monthly or one-off through their website. On the other hand, if you want to get more hands on, you can volunteer for a multitude of roles, from aiding with clerical work all the way up to fostering animals.

Get in touch: Visit hkherp.org.hk.

Sai Kung Stray Friends Foundation
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Sai Kung Stray Friends Foundation

What they do: Sai Kung Stray Friends is group of volunteers, funded by local donations, who aim to rescue and provide medical care to stray animals, as well as arrange the fostering and adoption of animals, with the ultimate goal of providing them with a better life.

How you can help: The foundation is actively looking for volunteers to aid with dog walking duties and to provide basic manpower in assisting with the kennels.

Get in touch: Visit saikungstrayfriends.net. For English language inquiries contact Narelle 9199 2340. For Chinese language inquiries contact Kathy on 6012 8559. Alternatively, email saikungstrayfriendshk@gmail.com.

Environmental charities

Redress
Photo by Gensen Chan
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Redress

What they do: Founded by Dr Christina Dean in 2007, this non-profit organisation works to reduce waste in the fashion industry by recycling materials and educating designers to think more environmentally friendly. They organise workshops, fashion shows and clothes drives, and partner up with academic institutions to educate future designers and consumers about fashion’s environmental impact.

How you can help: If you’re interested in supporting their work, Redress is part of the 1% For The Planet plan, a partnership of over 1,100 companies in 48 countries that give one percent of their revenue to environmental causes. You can also donate directly to them through their website.

Get in touch: Visit redress.com.hk. Contact 2861 0360; info@redress.com.hk.

Clean Air Network
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Clean Air Network

What they do: The Clean Air Network is a non-profit organisation that focuses on raising awareness about air pollution and the impact it has on our health. Its mission is to advocate solutions for the future and look for better urban planning solutions.

How you can help: Volunteering activities can range from administrative support at the CAN office to helping organise talks with the charity. If you’re interested, sign up online. You’ll receive a CAN kit that you can share with your friends and family to provide them with the information necessary to spread the word and help the environment. The kit includes support for assisting in promotion, organising talks and street petition sign ups.

Get in touch: Visit hongkongcan.org. Contact 3971 0106; info@hongkongcan.org.

Conservancy Association
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Conservancy Association

What they do: Founded in 1968, the Conservancy Assocation focuses on protecting the environment and maintaining Hong Kong’s cultural heritage. In order to do this, they regularly promote environmental education, monitor government environmental policies and encourage the community to get involved in protecting the environment themselves.

How you can help: If you’re up for going green, a nice donation would be appreciated. Being a volunteer is just as important, however, and you can help out with fundraising, clerical work, designing posters and staff recruitment.

Get in touch: Visit cahk.org.hk. Contact 2728 6781; cahk@cahk.org.hk.

Clean The Air
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Clean The Air

What they do: Clean The Air proactively tries to reduce air pollution through public awareness campaigns and working with the government to figure out solutions to tackle the issue. They are regularly involved with schools and other events to provide educational presentations about air quality and how as a community we can take action.

How you can help: Since it’s hard to suck pollutants out of the air with willpower alone, donations are encouraged. These are used for educational and communication purposes.

Get in touch: Visit cleartheair.org.hk. Contact 2579 9398.

2nd Chance Hong Kong
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2nd Chance Hong Kong

What they do Run by a married couple Richard Bowsie and Mavis Lui Kit-kan since 2006, 2nd Chance offers a platform for people to buy and sell second hand furniture and accessories at bargain prices. The pair saw a large amount of good furniture being thrown away each week and were determined to do something that would reduce this waste and help the environment. 

How you can help Skip Ikea and come here next time you need a new wardrobe.The organisation believes in giving back to the community which is why five percent of all money received from items in the ‘Antiques & Collectables’ section goes towards other charities. And if you’re selling items to 2nd Chance, they encourage individuals to donate the money to a local charity.

Get in touch Visit 2ndchance.com.hk. Contact 2496 1222; info@2ndchance.com.hk.

Other charities

The Lighthouse Club Hong Kong Benevolent Fund

The Lighthouse Club Hong Kong Benevolent Fund

What they do: The kind of charity that Bob the Builder might need on a bad day. The fund is devoted to those in need within the construction industry, providing financial assistance to the victims of accident or illness, as well as their dependants.

How you can help: The fund is less hands-on than others. The best way to help is to send donations by direct transfer to the charity’s HSBC account: 511-286056-001.

Get in touch: Visit lighthouseclub.asia. Contact 2736 9885; lighthousehkg@gmail.com.

Chi Heng Foundation

Chi Heng Foundation

What they do: Founded in 1998, the Chi Heng Foundation offers help to children afflicted with Aids from different villages throughout China by funding their education and living expenses.

How you can help: The Chi Heng Foundation appreciates donations, help with fundraising and event planning. The charity also offers dedicated internships to those willing to give the time.

Get in touch: Visit chfaidsorphans.com. Contact 2517 0564; info@chihengfoundation.com.

Hong Kong Breast Cancer Foundation

Hong Kong Breast Cancer Foundation

What they do: The Hong Kong Breast Cancer Foundation, now over a decade old, is a non-profit organisation aimed at mitigating breast cancer by promoting public awareness and education, supporting patients through their recovery and advocating better breast care in Hong Kong.
How you can help: The HKBCF appreciates volunteers in patient support, as an extra hand at charity events and anyone who can provide admin support.

Get in touch: Visit hkbcf.org. Contact 2525 6033; info@hkbcf.org.

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Riding For The Disabled

Riding For The Disabled

What they do Founded by Lady MacLehose, wife of the then colony’s governor, in 1975, Riding For The Disabled is a charity that hopes to teach children and adults to ride horses proficiently. This may not sound tremendously helpful, but it is in fact excellent therapy for the disabled and helps improve their self-confidence, discipline and concentration.

How you can help The RDA welcomes volunteers of all ages and backgrounds, in fields such as assisting riding lessons, providing clerical assistance or help with administrative work.

Get in touch Visit rda.org.hk. Contact 2454 9961 (Tuen Mun riding school) or 2875 7711 (Pok Fu Lam riding school); info@rda.org.hk.

Photo courtesy of Hong Kong Jockey Club

Ho-Sum

What they do: Literally meaning ‘good heart’ in Cantonese, Ho- Sum is a non-profit organisation dedicated to involving people in volunteering by providing an online meeting place where charities and volunteers can connect.

How you can help: By utilising Ho-sum’s search feature, you’re able to connect with charities that cater to causes you’re passionate about. All take into consideration your schedule as well the skills you can offer.

Get in touch: Visit ho-sum.org. Contact 2549 2010; enquiry@ho-sum.org.

HandsOn Hong Kong

A charity dedicated to community based volunteerism. As opposed to being exclusive to one specific area, HandsOn works across the board and actively recruits and trains volunteers to dispatch them where they’re most needed. A great place to start if you’re not sure what to do with all that goodwill. HandsOn Hong Kong, Rm 601, The L Plaza 367-375 Queen’s Rd C, Sheung Wan;handsonhongkong.org.

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Hong Kong Red Cross

The Red Cross have always been big advocators of public participation and though you might be more familiar with its work overseas there’s plenty that you can do closer to home. They have a litany of projects to get involved in ranging from interest groups to patient care, public education, psychological support and more. Do it! Hong Kong Red Cross, 2802 0021; redcross.org.hk.

Harmony House

An institution in Hong Kong that serves as a beacon of hope for those that have endured one of the more reprehensible facets of human cruelty – domestic violence. Established in 1985, Harmony House is the first shelter in Hong Kong for abused women and children. Now, they offer preventative, therapeutic and developmental programs for affected families as well as organising community education programs, training multi-disciplinary professionals and advocating policies and legislation for victims of violence. As a volunteer, you can be part of one of the most proactively altruistic organisations in the city. Harmony House, Wing B, G/F, On Wah Hse, Lok Wah (south) Estate, Kwun Tong, 2342 0072; harmonyhousehk.org.

Bring Me a Book Hong Kong

A non-profit organisation founded in 2006 with a mission to serve children who do not have access to quality books and don’t have the opportunity to enjoy that staple of a healthy and happy childhood – being read to. As a volunteer you can help in two areas, the first being book covering, where you help make protective plastic covers for books destined for the foundation’s libraries. Though this may not seem like the most exciting way to help, it’s actually a really fun working environment with refreshments and music on hand. Alternatively, you can dive in and read to the children. There’s nothing quite like instilling the joy of reading to a child, and you’re doing your bit for the literary community too. Bring Me a Book Hong Kong, 7/F, On Lan Ctr, 11-15 On Lan St, Central, 2127 4533,bringmeabook.org.hk.

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Comments

3 comments
Dan L
Dan L

I'd like to add another animal charity to this list: Hong Kong Dog Rescue! They are a wonderful non-profit rescue organisation that seeks to re-home abandoned dogs. They also run a number of educational workshops to educate citizens about living responsibly with dogs. I've adopted two dogs from HKDR, and I've been so impressed with their outreach, post-adoption support, and the kindness with which they treat their animals. I plan on volunteering with them as a dog walker in the new year.

Rachel B
Rachel B

With thousands of charities to highlight in Hong Kong, how did you pick these ones?

Alex M
Alex M

If you know about good charity in HK, could you please share?