Over the last 23 years, more than 216,000 unemployed people have completed our training courses. It was during the outbreak of SARS in 2003, that I realised how vital our services were to the community. With unemployment reaching an all-time high, we saw a big influx of men and women who wanted to be retrained so that they could re-enter the workforce.
This weekend, more than 1.4 billion Chinese will celebrate Chinese New Year. On the first day of the New Year, we will honour a traditional custom and visit the homes of friends and families to wish them a Happy New Year. This practice is known as "bai leen" in Cantonese (or "bai nian" in Putonghua). Simply put, the phrase means to "wish someone a Happy New Year" or to "exchange New Year's greetings”.
Confined to a one bedroom, sub-divided flat, there was little for Sum Sum and her younger sister Ting Ting to do during the recent holiday break from school. The school holidays meant that at least one parent would need to take off from work to care for the girls, but neither could afford to, as their survival is dependent upon every dollar made.
For over 30 years the New Horizons Building in Kowloon East has served tens of thousands of people in this area. Now our home and main service and training centre is listed for demolition under the government's redevelopment plan.