Our enthusiastic Treasurer, Tasha Mahabir, shares her reasons for loving HK Ladies Circle
When I moved to Hong Kong 5 years ago one of my key priorities was to find a charity to support. Without too much looking there wasn't any one cause that jumped out at me. Back in the UK I supported a couple of health related ones and a homeless charity. But it was back in June 2016 a very dear friend invited me along to the Hong Kong Ladies Circle monthly dinner.
I don't think I'd ever been in a room with so many women!!!! But the food was good and the wine - well you know wine!!!
It was a couple of months later - at the October dinner where I was asked if I'd like to join and I said yes! How could you resist a bunch of awful women (...awfully nice women...) who remembered your name, were interested in you and were quite good fun? But that wasn't why I said yes. I don't like good company, food and wine that much!!!
It was the charity. Or rather the charities. [Get ready for the science bit]. I'd never supported a kids charity. Nothing against the little people, but my thing was homelessness and health. And here was a bunch of pretty ladies giving their time and money to make the lives of so many of Hong Kong's disadvantaged children have a more loving….fulfilled….stable…. More of a life. They say 'your school years are your best' - and I genuinely loved going to school - can you see the smile on my face as I write this ;-)…. But ‘they’ say this because the only thing kids should be worrying about is their homework…..
Don't get me wrong - I've never been that oblivious - but just, y'know…..
I tried to empathise and I noticed a change in me. I started thinking about the future. The future isn't me or you. The future is the kids. The generations that we as society are all responsible for. Sure, you may not have given them life, but as a responsible member of the human race it is up to all of us cherish and nurture and positively influence the next generation and lend a helping hand and give a hug or cheesy smile to the next generation.
The main charity we support is Small Group Homes. Oh my goodness. One of the young ladies in their care did a presentation at our September dinner. Only 14 years old and her life has done a 180. When she started her presentation she seemed timid, maybe a little shy. But then her self-confidence exploded and wasn't she just a little pocket rocket! Seeing how SGH had impacted on this one kid was so empowering to see. With their guidance and nurturing the young lady is living a life that she wouldn't have had otherwise.
We give up our time and money and this is the good that comes from it. Sure we can self-congratulate and say we had a part to play, but personally I feel it's a moral obligation to help others. I don't project this onto anyone else, but through Ladies Circle I have been able to develop and do.
So I've now been a member for a year. Training wheels off - I'm the Treasurer! Our November dinner [my one year anniversary] was also our Box of Hope Packing Night. Oh my goodness. I told our President I would have to leave early as I had an early start the next day. Did I leave early? Pfft! Around me were thirty-five women wrapping boxes, packing boxes, labelling boxes, boxes, boxes, boxes all around me!! But that's not really what I saw.
What I saw was thirty-five hearts. That evening wasn't about time or money. It was about envisioning the smile on a kid when they received their box.
That night when I got home I commented on our council group chat - 'if ever I needed validation for joining Ladies Circle, tonight was it'……
When I moved to Hong Kong, I didn't find a charity to support. I discovered a cause I didn't know meant that much to me.
So I wear my Ladies Circle pin with pride. Knowing every day there is a kid in Hong Kong whose life is just that little bit happier.
Hong Kong Ladies Circle Treasurer 2017-18
We were a vision in pink at The Shelley's home on Thursday as we gathered together to raise money for the Hk Breast Cancer Foundation and also, in support of Round Table International who are raising funds for Movember !
Each year becomes a little more pink than the last as we delved into our dressing up boxes and even went so far as an outing to the fantastic Pottinger Street to stock up on pink feather boa's and moustaches (quite an unusual combination.)
Not only did our ladies generously donate a door fee on arrival, but they took place in a lucky prize draw - with each donor being able to choose which pink moustache they got to wear.
The result? We raised a fabulous HK$6,000 to be split between the Hong Kong Breast Cancer Foundation and the Round Table International Movember team.
There surely is no end to the fun at the Hong Kong Ladies Circle?!!
We truly love all that the Box of Hope Charity embodies. It not only allows the sharing of wonderful gifts to the under privileged across Asia, but it brings together a huge sense of community and friendship. It never ceases to amaze me the generosity of not just our members - and guests - for our own involvement, but for everyone else getting involved across Hong Kong.
In the run up to this years Box of Hope, I thought it might be an idea to gather a few people together to wrap a few boxes in advance of our popular Box of Hope packing evening. I honestly never dreamt that by the day of the event I would need to be moving TWO HUNDRED AND FORTY wrapped boxes ready for packing. I have to say the mornings in my home with members, guests and neighbours popping in for an hour or two's social wrapping were a real highlight - and one I miss already!
We tried to wrap a lot since we wanted to pack a lot ! The availability of wrapped boxes on the night can become a bottle neck and we wanted to avoid rushed wrapping, giving each box a lot of time and love.
So on the night we did pack a lot. An awful lot. Part way through the night the shout went up that we were starting to run out of donations for the boxes. While I could see we had packed a huge amount, it somehow didn't look like we would beat last years record 344 boxes. We kept going though, packing and packing - with loud music to keep us moving!
When the final very lengthy count came, I was totally astounded. Not only had we beaten last years record, but by a whopping 95 extra boxes - we packed FOUR HUNDRED AND THIRTY NINE BOXES in a single evening. Fantastic.
After the box packing came the box checking. A few days after the Box Packing night, our ladies donated more time & effort as we joined the wonderful team at the Box of Hope HQ to spend a day helping them check some of the 1,000s of Boxes of Hope flooding in this week and next. Always a wonderful experience and so many truly beautiful boxes and messages from the citizens of Hong Kong.
We cannot wait to get started all over again next year.......perhaps we should set up our box wrapping donation service........a good way to raise more money for this charity. Watch this space !
It only felt like yesterday since we gathered our members together to support the Association of Round Tables HK for their annual Pedal Kart 24-hour Grand Prix.
The race runs over 24 hours with teams pedalling through night, relay race style. It is a feat of teamwork, engineering, spirit and endurance.
Our members lent a hand with the organisation of the event (our Pedal Kart Coordinator works tirelessly to help behind the scenes.) Ladies helped with race set up, marshalling, manning the Ladies Circle booth, welcoming two of the charities we have supported this year - and anything else that needed some manpower. I have to admit my least favourite task was to help close the face painting stall which proved to be extremely popular indeed - character building stuff that's for sure!
Following our help with the last two years races, the Association of Round Tables HK pledged HK$360,000 to the Hong Kong Society for the Deaf. Their largest single donation to date. HK Society for the Deaf had approached us with a funding proposal outside the reach of our ordinary fundraising - to create a sensory room for hearing impaired children at their new facility in the New Territories. Sadly it was beyond our normal fundraising but were so keen to see the project funded, we approached Round Table to see if they would be able to help - and to cut a long story full of due diligence, site visits and quote comparisons, they agreed.
This highlights the great fundraising capability of the Annual Pedal Kart Grand Prix, and the fantastic work done by the gentlemen of the Hong Kong Round Tables. If you would like to learn more about them or make a donation, please contact the Association of Round Tables Hong Kong.
Looking forward to the next race already !