2022 Year in Review at WISE
2022 was a year signified by hope and aspirations. Riding on a momentous 2021, we were able to build on what we had started to hone as a charity the year before and ended with new milestones unlocked.
In spite of the impending fear over the pandemic fifth wave, we began the year full of eagerness as we were about to start delivering our first multi-session project to 53 teenage girls at Ng Yuk Secondary School. This was a big step for us: after we became a charity at the end of 2020, it was one of our goals to bring a positive impact to girls by working directly with local schools.
We had barely started this project when schools shut down again. With gym and sports venues having already been closed, we moved to online yoga, stretching and sports sessions. Between Feb 2022 and May 2022, we held more open sessions for the wider community, extending our collaboration from Grassroots Future to organisations such as HELP for Domestic Workers, ChickenSoup Foundation, YWCA, Translate for Them and Uplifters. It was a difficult time for many people in Hong Kong and it was important to do what we could to contribute back to the community. For a few mothers who had joined our activities before, we added online sessions on self-care and mental health. In a span of 12 weeks we delivered 43 online sessions with close to 385 times of participation. As part of Refugee Week in June, we held one more online yoga session. We couldn’t have completed all these sessions without the support of many volunteers, and for them we are thankful.
Ahead of International Women’s Day 2022, we released a video, “Sports in Hong Kong: Level The Playing Field” supported by the Equal Opportunities Commission. Narrated by our former team member Cecily Radford, this video has garnered over 20,000 views / impressions across our various social media platforms. If you haven’t yet watched it, we highly recommend you do, as it encapsulates why we do what we do in less than two minutes. With that video launch, we ran a “136 Challenge”, inviting teams to run, walk, swim, cycle 136 kilometres together to smash the 136 years that it would take to close the gender parity gap according to the World Economic Forum in April 2021. During the height of the pandemic fifth wave, we were pleased to see it provided some of our participants some motivation to get out, be active and care for their physical and mental health.
While all this was happening, we were recruiting a project manager to join our team full-time. The onboarding of Peony Tam in April 2022 coincided with the gradual restrictions of the pandemic fifth wave. Not only were we able to resume our activities in-person including at Ng Yuk Secondary School (though our project was shortened), we also added new content to our curriculum, such as introduction to sports careers, which we delivered to 23 teenage girls with IBEL and to 73 students at Nam Wah Catholic Secondary School. This will continue to be a topical interest going forward as we hope to inspire youth to see more pathways and possibilities in the sports industry. Thank you to the headmistress, teachers and students for trusting us, as well as our coaches and facilitators who supported us.
Peony’s joining of Team WISE significantly increased our capacity to deliver. Together with Cherie Chan, Kristy Ng and Shirley Lee who joined as interns, over the summer they worked as a team to deliver sessions with Methodist Centre, Translate For Them and our 6-session W.E. Rise2, which was joined by 14 families in the refugee and asylum seeker community. We are thankful to the support from Telstra Foundation Hong Kong for our families program; the moms appreciated having the opportunity to learn how to support their own and childrens’ mental health.
Summer came and summer went. Cherie continued on as a part time Project Assistant and we also welcomed Liam Mak and Rachel Heung to the team. In September, supported by Joint Dynamics Evolve, we held a panel discussion on menstruation and sports. This is one of many topics that has always been near to our hearts as we know there are still many misconceptions about periods and sports. And for many girls, period shame and not having sufficient information to manage periods is a contributing factor to reduced participation in sports during that time of the month. In October we successfully screened our 2022 No Man’s Land Film Festival, supported by Recoil and Project S. Aside from short films, we had one speaker session with wakeboarder Fiona Chan and everyone took away an Octopus Card Wonder Woman ornament!
In October, we also launched our 2022 S.H.E Mentoring Program. This is the second time we have organised S.H.E (= Sports | Health | Empowerment) with the aim to support young women in tertiary education to discover the strength of their minds and bodies, and experience how sport plays a supporting role in their personal and professional development. From a number of mentees we had heard of their desire to establish more social connections and to step out of their comfort zone and we’re delighted to see what they have achieved this year. Thanks also to HERFund for supporting this year’s program, and supporters such as Kim Petersen, Natalie Sin, Aileen Wong and Tiara Hoquee from MINDFit, Stephanie Poelman from Pherform and speakers Judy Chan, Imogen Short, Radhika Darbari, Wendy Man, Dr. Michelle from Balanced Health and Vanessa Leung and Carman Ng from Yogalogy. You can read about our mentors here.
2022 would not have been possible without the support of many key individuals and organisations. As a non-resident partner at Dream Impact, they’ve connected us to a number of opportunities, including a speaking engagement on “Corporate-Social ESG Solutions” at their fifth year anniversary celebrations. Being supported by WYNG Foundation, we’ve been offered the opportunity to sit with many other like minded NGOs, and in doing so, learn from them, and be inspired by their successes. In June, Angela Liew and Natasha Norton joined as incoming Board Members. Together with Alicia Lui, Karen Seymour and Tina Wong, the Board has played a key role in providing oversight and strategic direction, and very often, hands-on involvement to activate fundraising partnerships and project delivery (you can read more about them here). To our committee members Adela Comsa, Jay Kan, Rosita Chan and Wanda Yuen and a few other key volunteers Ailenemae Ramos, Bryony Hardy Wong, Coco Tse, Eunice Cheung, Gloria Gan, Jacqueline Sit, Jessica Lai, Lois Wong and Kate Okrasinski from Make Studios who were tireless in their support of us. We’ve also had the privilege to be charity recipients from the 2022 Arbitration Ball, 2022 Valley Everest Challenge and 2022 SteelCase Dragon Run.
Towards the end of 2022, during our strategic planning sessions, in taking stock of where we want to make the most impact, we decided that in 2023 we will be focusing primarily on our teenage girls and young women program. This is needed in order for us to be more streamlined and be able to deliver more impact in the long run. We’re thankful to lululemon, HERFund, People’s Place and Decathlon for having supported our teens project in recent years and we’re excited that in 2023, we have new partnerships: Operation Santa Claus and LRC Charitable Foundation for our teens projects.We’re looking forward to continued partnerships with Chatteris, SCMP, RTHK and Credit Suisse, as well as to Tatler who awarded Alicia a Front & Female award. We are expanding our content and curriculum and hope to bring more of these topics at the intersection of sports, health, economy and more.
Our goal in 2023 is to work with a minimum of ten local secondary schools and reach a minimum of 300 teenage girls. If you are keen to champion our teens projects or learn more, please feel free to contact us. You can also connect us to schools by sharing about what we do to teachers, principals and parents. You can fundraise for us or connect us to corporations and businesses so we can share more about what we do.
Thank you and we’ll see you in 2023!
One thought on “2022 Year in Review at WISE”
What a great year! Proud to be part of the team 🙂