WEDO GLOBAL Co-founders: Ethnic Minority Deserve More Choices
與少數族裔同行 WEDO GLOBAL共同創辦人：他們值得有更多選擇
A minority cultural ambassador realised after being a tour guide that many students are curious about her culture – this is an opportunity for them to speak up, to have a ‘Be the Star’ moment, and to appreciate her own culture.
有位少數族裔文化大使擔任導賞員後，才發現有不少學生對她的文化十分好奇——這是一個讓她們發聲的機會，令她有「Be the Star」的感覺，亦讓她懂得欣賞自己的文化。
Eva WONG 黃靜虹
Co-founder, WEDO GLOBAL 愛同行共同創辦人
Bosco NG 吳宗麟
Director, WEDO GLOBAL 愛同行董事
In the self-proclaimed international metropolis of Hong Kong, misunderstandings about ethnic minorities still prevail and the options for minority jobseekers are very limited. Therefore, Eva and Bosco set up WEDO GLOBAL, a social enterprise providing multicultural workshops and guided tours to educate the public about the minority cultures and their stories as part of Hong Kong, meanwhile offering training to the minorities to facilitate their social integration in future.
於貴為國際大都會的香港社會對少數族裔仍存有不少誤解，導致他們能夠選擇的工種少之又少。有見及此，Eva及Bosco 成立社會企業「愛同行」（WEDO GLOBAL），以多元文化工作坊及導賞，讓大眾瞭解少數族裔的文化及居港的生活故事，同時為他們提供培訓，有助日後投身職場、融入社會。
Eva and Bosco met in ‘The PolyU Volunteers’ when they were studying at PolyU. Back then Bosco participated in a three-month multicultural training programme in Canada, meeting young leaders from 18 different countries and regions. This training has made me realise that there are actually many ethnic minorities in Hong Kong, and their lives are facing difficult circumstances.’
Unlike Bosco, Eva has always been drawn to the exotic cultures of different ethnic groups. She explained that she had earlier organised a volunteer service group to visit Sri Lanka, where the locals’ way of living and culture had a profound impact on her. ‘I’d got many shocking moments. The reason for eating with hands, for example, is not due to the lack of resources or poverty, but because they think using five fingers to eat is more efficient than any tableware, especially in mixing food.’ Eva believes that different ethnic cultures have their own wisdom of living, and hopes Hong Kong people could have the opportunity to learn more about them. Since then, the duo began to dig deep into the ways of living and cultures of ethnic minorities, making new friends of different ethnicities.
Eva and Bosco hope that by providing training and employment opportunities to members of ethnic minorities, and by encouraging them to ‘share their own stories in person’, they can narrow the gap between ethnic minorities and the general public.
Eva及Bosco希望透過提供培訓及就業機會予少數族裔，推動他們「親身分享自己的故事」 ，能拉近少數族裔與普羅大眾之間的距離 。
From a Sideline to a Whole-heartedly Career
In 2011, Eva and Bosco established WEDO GLOBAL with financial support from the PolyU Micro Fund Scheme. However, they kept their full-time jobs soon after inception and it remained a part-time venture. ‘In the beginning, we were in charge of youth activities at the Student Affairs Office of PolyU to promote communications among local, Mainland Chinese and overseas students,’ continued Bosco. ‘We also worked at the Social Enterprise Summit to build networks and gain related knowledge.’ Eva recalled, ‘then I thought if I had made up my mind and was determined to grow the business, I must devote myself to doing it.’ So they decided to quit their day-time jobs to run the social enterprises full time.
Having abandoned stable jobs, they were bound to face many uncertainties on the road of entrepreneurship. Did they struggle at that time? ‘Sure, livelihood was the main concern,’ said Bosco. ‘But we soon discovered once we were committed to it. We would keep finding ways to tackle problems. The company was growing so fast that it was beyond our expectation.’ The philosophy that underpins WEDO GLOBAL has given rise to a distinct operating model – members of ethnic minorities are trained to become tour guides and are engaged in the design of community guided tours, which enable participants to understand their cultures. After institutions and schools purchase the service, participants can join the tours for free. They believe that by providing training and employment opportunities to members of ethnic minorities, and by encouraging them to ‘share their own stories in person’, they can narrow the gap between ethnic minorities and the general public. As such the minorities are empowered to become self-reliant and cultural ambassadors who connect and contribute to the communities.
Members of ethnic minorities are trained to become tour guides and are engaged in the design of community guided tours, in order to strengthen their self-confidence and self-identity and let them appreciate their own culture.
Multicultural Education to Let Women ‘Be the Star’
多元文化教育 讓婦女「Be the Star」
At present, WEDO GLOBAL has cultural ambassadors of different nationalities with women accounting for 80%, including secondary school graduates, university students and housewives. After training and practising, they will have the opportunity to take part in the design of community guided tours to strengthen their self-confidence and self-identity. Eva hopes to change the public opinion and encourage minority women to work outside, share their ideas, and even pursue dreams. ‘A minority cultural ambassador realised after being a tour guide that many students are curious about her culture – this is an opportunity for them to speak up, to have a ‘Be the Star’ moment, and to appreciate her own culture,’ added Bosco.
現時「愛同行」有不同國籍的文化大使，女性佔了八成，當中不乏中學畢業生、大學生或主婦。她們經過培訓、練習，更有機會參與設計社區導賞路線，藉此增強他們的自信心及自我認同感。Eva希望改變大眾的看法，提倡少數族裔女性也可以外出工作，分享自己的想法，更可以追夢。「有位少數族裔文化大使擔任導賞員後，才發現有不少學生對她的文化十分好奇——這是一個讓她們發聲的機會，令她有『Be the Star』的感覺，亦讓她懂得欣賞自己的文化。」Bosco補充。
Eva and Bosco consider that tolerance, respect and communications are the most important elements when working with people of different races. Eva pointed out the colleagues of Islam faith spend the month of Ramadan every year during which they do not eat or drink between dawn and sunset. ‘Most of them would start the day at 4am and fast all day after having a Suhur meal. To show our understanding, we would arrange for flexible working hours so that they can continue their religious activities while taking care of their work.’
Educate from a Young Age with Continuous Support
Eva said they will work with more companies and institutions to provide more diverse multicultural training with themes including Diversity Sharing and Unconscious Bias to promote cultural integration in workplaces. She stressed that WEDO GLOBAL would hopefully become a transit point and help ethnic minorities build long-term career goals. ‘Some members who have participated in the training have become teachers or even entrepreneurs. This is the result we are hoping to see earnestly because most members of ethnic minorities in Hong Kong can only get the so-called “3D” (i.e. dirty, dangerous and demeaning) jobs. They deserve more choices to realise their full potentials.’
Eva表示未來會與更多不同的企業和機構合作，提供多元文化培訓如多元化教育（Diversity Sharing）與摒棄偏見（Unconsious Bias）等專題，從而促進職場上文化融合。她強調希望「愛同行」能成為中轉站，協助少數族裔發展更長遠的工作目標。「有些參與過培訓的少數族裔及後成為了教師，甚或創業，這是我們最希望看到的結果。現時少數族裔在香港大多只能從事俗稱『3D』的工作：Dirty、Dangerous、Demeaning（骯髒、危險、低下），但他們理應有更多選擇發揮所長。」
As one of the first 20 accredited social enterprises in Hong Kong, WEDO GLOBAL has been established for 8 years. Eva and Bosco have not only assisted many friends from ethnic minorities, but also got their fair share of valuable opportunities: Eva is currently a member of the Commission on Poverty, whereas Bosco is a member of the Advisory Committee on Racial Equality and Integration of the Equal Opportunities Commission. They are now able to propose more minority-related policies to the government. When it comes to future developments, Bosco hopes to provide training to young minorities, so they can adapt to the local culture sooner and faster. ‘In addition to on-job training, WEDO GLOBAL also provides free Chinese classes to minority groups in primary and secondary schools. I hope education can be done at a young age.’