Empowerment For Self-Help and Mutual Help

19 September 2023

The COVID-19 pandemic of 2020-2022 unleashed a series of negative impacts on society. The sudden outbreak, which reduced earnings and heightened anxieties, caught many off-guard and was especially hard on low-income households.

For Ms Ding, a homemaker in Kwai Tsing District, life was not easy to begin with, but this was made worse by school closures during the pandemic. The extra time and energy needed to take care of her children at home often made her irritable. “I used to lose my temper whenever my kids wouldn’t do their homework or listen to me,” she said. “Now, I know how to calm myself down before dealing with the situation.”

This was thanks to her joining the 1-year Kwai Tsing Community (KTC) Lifestyle Programme organized by Health In Action in 2021, which addressed the food and psychological needs of low-income families.

The programme targeted those under stress during the pandemic, offering tailor-made activities to build resilience and healthy habits at individual, group and community levels. Through promoting the concept of health empowerment, it aimed to build participants’ long-term competencies for healthy living by enhancing their knowledge in health and their communities as well as building mutual trust and social support networks.

In the yoga and sports classes that Ms Ding joined under the Programme, she learned to stay calm and work on her emotions first before dealing with the matter at hand. “After talking with the social workers, I felt less stressed,” she said. “When I take care of my kids now, I can manage my emotions better.”

The Programme also included a WhatsApp group for sharing healthy tips and recipes. Various activities were organised, such as hiking and community explorations where participants together created maps of their communities, enabling them to take short breaks from the pressures of life while becoming closer to their communities.

For Ms Ding, she expanded her social circle after befriending fellow Kwai Tsing residents with similar backgrounds. Members of the group shared with each other how they handled negative emotions. “The Programme reminded us of something very important: We must first love and take care of ourselves. Only when we have good health could we take good care of our children, husbands and families,” she said.

Health in Action

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