To improve the social mobility of youths in urban disadvantaged and marginal areas of Hong Kong.
For youth growing up in disadvantaged and marginal environments can receive the development resources that will allow them to become competitive in a much wider range of employment opportunities; and that they will understand how to succeed in their careers and thus create greater security and stability for themselves and their families.
We focus in particular on youths under 21 years of age who are socio-economically and educationally disadvantaged (attending Band II and III schools) living in disadvantaged areas of Hong Kong, specifically Tin Shui Wai, Tuen Mun, Yuen Long, and Tung Chung.
Consistent with the social science consensus that differences in urban spaces both magnify and create social disadvantage, our targets are areas which are geographically distant from urban centers with poorer educational, social, and cultural resources overall.
Interaction with these young people reveals the following social immobility traits:
- Lack of aspiration (an unclear path ahead): they have little or no sense of what they want or can do with their lives: when asked what they would like to do in the future, their answers are limited to low-end employment e.g. working at a fast food chain like McDonalds or a local food court; delivering meals for Pizza Hut, KFC; or working for a removal or courier service - the jobs on offer in the employment markets around them.
- Lack of confidence and fear of speaking up (better to take no step at all than yet another in the wrong direction): very few of these young people believe that they have the ability move out of the area in which they have grown up, and they have a tendency to internalise the blame for this. They do not see their talents and strengths so cannot understand and identify what they can offer a potential employer.
- Lack of resources (in truth it is difficult to make significant gains with little to invest): the youths who participate in our Internship Programme (see below) have no idea of the opportunities and jobs that exist in more prosperous areas of Hong Kong, as their only sources of information are their peers from similar social background; their parents, who lack the time and ability to assist them; and their teachers and/or social workers, who likewise believe that it is safest and least risk to remain in the employment markets immediately around them which are low in variety and potential for life opportunity development.