Community Development Plan: Hung Hom

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A Project Intervention Plan Hung Hom

  • Li Ka Tik

 

The following paper is going to suggest an intervention plan on the Hung Hom community of Hong Kong’s Kowloon District. It briefly introduces the situation of Hung Hom and identifies the issues about inequality between rich and poor residents. Also, an intervention strategies and empowerment plans are propose based on the social action approach. The roles of CD worker in those plan and the foreseen challenges are mentioned in the last part.

About Hung Hom

Hung Hom is belonged to Kowloon City Districtand bordered by Hung Hom Bay in the east, No. 12 Hill, Hok Yuen and the valley Lo Lung Hang in the north, King’s Park in the west,Victoria Harbour in the south. It is a well-resourced community with over 17 social service agencies (Social Welfare Department), 28 educational facilities, 52 health clinics (www.lifein.hk), communal facilities, recreational facilities and business activities. The location of the community is near the cross harbor tunnel and is well connected by minibuses, buses and MTR, including the link from Shatin to Central which will be constructed soon.

Identifying Key Social Problems in Hung Hom

The problem of inequality between upper/middle class and grassroots is one of obvious social problem in Hung Hom. According to Rawls (1971), social and economic inequalities are to be arranged so that they are attached to offices and positions open to all under conditions of fair equality of opportunity. Moreover, for the second principle of justice, all social goods including opportunity, income, wealth and the bases of self-respect should be distributed equally unless an unequal distribution of any or all of thesegoods is to the advantages of the lease favored. Marshall (1963) indicated that equality not only mean the equality of income, but it also is a general enrichment of the concrete substance of civilized life, a general reduction of insecurity and risk as well as an equalization between the more and less fortunate at all levels so the equality of status is more important.

Hung Hom includes both of public estates and wealthier neighborhoods, which imply there is a large poverty gap. The 2011 Population Census Statistics for Hung Hom indicated the level of income inequality or socioeconomic gap between the upper class and the middle and lower classes which was probably a potential source of inequality.Despite its wide range of resources in Hung Hom, the resources are unevenly distributed in various parts of estates. Therefore, there is a potential inequality between those without and with access to the enough resources and the most obvious examples arethe health clinics and the kindergartens which concentrated in the wealthier neighborhoods such as Whampoa estate. Moreover, the majority of them is privately operated and targets the middle and upper class residents. Eventually, lower income residents in KaWai and Hung Hom estate need to seek the affordable services in other nearby districts because those services charge very high fees which are beyond the means of them. The equality of opportunity is also referring to ‘social mobility’. If there is an oppression of the education resources from the higher income residents, it is hard for the children from a grassroots family to elevate to a higher social status.

Therefore, an intervention planshould be created for victims of inequality in Hung Hom, the residents with lower income, to fight for reasonable resources distribution.

Rationales and objectives of using social action

According to Rothman (1984), there are there models of community practice and social action is one of the intervention approaches. It is the practice of taking action and usually as part of an organized group or community. The objective is to shift the power relationships and resources, in order to create positive change and generally in the direction of greater equity of economic and social justice.Social action relies on forcing the government to change aiming at benefiting the poor, such as the lower income residents in Hung Hom, and disadvantaged the oppressed.Social action gets people moving and makes them feel strong that they less submit meekly those who oppressed them. It gives them responsibility for their own lives and actions as well as their leadership potential so it leads a long-term positive social change.

Specific intervention strategies and empowerment plans

In order to have an effective and impactful intervention, a confrontational organizing approach is used that a campaign is going to be organized for the social action().

The vision of the campaign is that everyone in Hung Hom can enjoy an equality community, and the goal is creating an appropriate distribution of resources, especially on the educational and medical resources. The objective is to empower the grassroots in Hung Hom to fight for resources for themselves; to make a dramatic statement that will focus public attention on the situation of them; to request the government taking action on the issue of inequality in Hung Hom. Moreover, a slogan of the campaign is “Growing in Hung Hom, studying in Hung Hom!! Living in Hung Hom, Medical consultation in Hung Hom”.

Empowerment helps the populations that have traditionally been powerless or haven’t understood their potential to exercise their power. For example, grassroots residents in Hung Hom did not aware that they are oppressed to accept the limited medical and education resources and just thought that they are not rich enough to enjoy services so they should go to other nearby districts. In fact, they have the right to request the government to provide an enough public resources for them. Thus, the community education is very important, especially the Liberating education which is the most suitable method for social action, including a process of conscientization, a development of a critical thinking and an awareness of the hidden assumption of the policy. Moreover, empowerment motivates people to take other kinds of positive action, such as voicing out their collective opinions on other unequal resources allocation in their community.

Therefore, at the beginning of the campaign, the focus is to gather grassroots residents in Hung Hom and promote the right which they originally have and aware them they have the choices. For instance, they and their children can enjoy affordable public medical and educational services in their own community. The second step is to encourage them to attend, as a group, a public meeting at which an issue of interest to their community is being discussed, in order to let them understand the policy related to their needs more, so that they can think more and propose the idea to the policy marker. A well communication channel and platform is very important to express the needs and requests. Thus, once they have built in the concept, communications, such as letters, phone calls, email, etc, with policy makers and others in authority (such as the Chief Executive, Secretary of Education) are organized. It is not enough to affect the policy marker if the voice is limited in the grassroots residents in Hung Hom. Therefore, encouraging media reporting is the next step, which helps to find a support from the public for this social action, by persuading the media to cover events or to publish stories that highlight particular issues or embarrass politicians and others in power who refuse accept the reasonable suggestion advised by the grassroots residents in Hung Hom. In order to make a larger impact on public’s mind for the issues, a street theater will be held at the last part of the campaign, which is meant to ridicule the opposition and to convey profound message in a way that is easily understood and entertaining. Finally, if the social action gains an initial success, there will be aevaluation section including the effective of the empowerment, the assessment of the modified resources allocation and the situation of inequality in Hung Hom as well as the coming planning on the prospect of equality community in Hung Hom.

Roles of CD worker in those intervention strategies

As a CD worker, there are four roles including enhancing the social interactions and functions of individual and their groups and communities; educating public on economic and social injustice that may hinder community functioning; initiating an advocacy for policy changes in response to needs identified by the community and the society and help them to articulate their common concerns and needs to the public, the government; and formulating and implement social policies, services, and programs that support the development of human capacities.

Foreseen challenges and difficulties

The redistribution of resources in Hung Hom is obviously beneficial to the grassroots residents. On the contrary, the interest of residents with higher income is affected, so they will oppose the policy proposed by grassroot. Moreover, Hong Kong is a free-market society with a lower tax system that government is unwilling to spend too much money on education and medical services in Hung Hom avoiding the affecting of free-market system.

In conclusion, there are lot of difficulties, created by upper class and government, on reaching an equality community. Therefore, based on confrontational organizing approach, the campaign with social action is the most suitable method and it help to empower the grassroots resident in Hung Hom and make an advocacy to ask for resources for them.

References

Census and Statistics Department Hong Kong. 2011 Population Census – Fact Sheet for Kowloon City District Council Hung Hom (G14-G20). Accessed online from http://www.census2011.gov.hk/en/district-profiles/ca/kowloon-city/g19.html on 24 Feb 2014.

Chui E., Ho L., Law C.K., Lee K.M., Lee V. & Wong Y.C.. (2010) Report of The Study of The Future Directions of Providing Social Work Services within the New Urban Renewal Strategy to be Formulated

Cox, F. M., Erlich, J. L., Rothman, J., & Tropman, J. E. (Eds). (1987). Strategies of community organisation. (4th ed). ITASCA, IL: PEACOCK Publishing, Inc.

Marshall, T. H. (1963) ‘Citizenship and social class’, in T. H. Marshall (ed.), Sociology at the Crossroads (London: Heinemann), pp. 67–127.

Rawls, J. (1971). A Theory of Justice. Cambridge, MA: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.

Websites

http://www.swd.gov.hk/en/index/

www.lifein.hk

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