Hong Kong Shing Kung Hui Lady MacLehose Centre (HKSKH), our local partner, has launched the “Voices of Children” Kwai Fong group in their WeConnect Centre. It aims at exploring the present conditions, issues and solutions to improve the community facilities in Kwai Fong. Children participants then converted their understandings to drawings and models, consolidated their opinions through dialogues with professional collaborators and aspired to actualise children voices in the community.
Children recruitment started in the midst of severe COVID-19 pandemics. In order to align with the precaution measures and balance the progress of children recruitment, not only did HKSKH set up booths in public space in Kwai Fong to recruit children, but also organised a series of online activities for children who came from the family they served—“Zoom to Travel around the World”, “Community Quiz Competition”, etc. These activities offered opportunities to children to travel around the world to “visit” the playground facilities at different places and understand the issues in their community without leaving home under the pandemic.
Children participants were named “Kwai Fong Junior Community Officers”. They were empowered as important individuals and encouraged to care about their community. Since the Concern Group was under the volatility of COVID-19 at the early stage, face-to-face and online workshops were both arranged to empower the Junior Community Officers to ideate the blueprints of their ideal playgrounds. Finally, eight children aged 7-10 were recruited.
Through activities such as the “Kwai Chung Trail” ,“District Councillors and Me” and ”Community Spatial Tour” which made use of a Trail Journal and an online “touring” workshop, the Kwai Fong Junior Community Officers got to know different areas and identified the problems in their community. Children also worked with City Planners to fabricate their ideal community with Lego blocks according to urban planning principles and they were invited to exchange views with their district councillors on the ideal elements of a playground.
As the pandemic had begun to recede, children were able to explore and provide solutions to improve their community. Through various tools such as community design worksheets and legos, children were able to learn about the community’s needs and raise suggestions. These suggestions earned city planners’ comments as enlightenment and showed in the event named Design for Ideal Community Exhibition cum Press Launch. Many guests and community stakeholders joined the event and actively gave opinions about children’s community design.
Activities are proceeding. Updates will be posted soon.