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Justen is fundraising for Soap Cycling 2020

69%
RAISED
HKD 50000 goal
HKD 34530 raised

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Yesterday, we heard there was a confirmed case in our residential building. With more time "self-quarantined" at home, I decide to write this personal sharing to recap the last few months of my journey at Soap Cycling.

"Non-essential" NGO

When I was an Intern of Soap Cycling in 2011, I thought being involved in an NGO is always like "extra" and good for the society". The more we do the better - but in case we were a bit busy at work or in family, we can always take a step back because they aren't "essential" after all. I left the team in 2012 as I started my career.

I had the same mindset when I returned as Board member of Soap Cycling in 2018. In 2019, two news came pretty much the same time - I realized Sharon is pregnant and a month later the Board nominated me as the new Chairman of Soap Cycling. I was hesitant of taking up the role - but again I thought, why not? How wrong can an NGO go?

I accepted the invitation, and a year later, COVID-19 changed everything.

Soap Cycling Finances

Soap Cycling has four full time staff. We have over 100k monthly operations cost. We normally asked top banks and financial institution to pay us a sum of money to host Corporate Social Responsibility or Team Building session within their company. They helped us recycle soap - they got to know more about the recycling world, their team got some new bonding, and we got more soap and funding required to keep us breakeven at the minimum: win-win. We also have other fundraising activities such as stakeholder gatherings, conference, cycling trips. This is how we have kept afloat for 8 years ... again how wrong can we go?

Until, COVID-19 is here.

Almost overnight, all the corporate (rightfully) cancel all the "non-essential" team interaction activities. Our conference, stakeholder gathering, cycling trips and foreign distribution trips have to be all cancelled. In early-February 2020, we recognized we can burn our bank account reserves very quickly. 

It was, and still is a very stressful period of time. It's the first time I recognize being a leader of an NGO is not just something "non-essential" or "optional". Even if we only talk about internally, we have 4 team members and all their families to consider. The last thing we want is to go to any sort of adverse "human resources decision". I spent sleepless nights to write grants (ask Sharon), have virtual meetings, discuss with funders - finally we got one (thank you Lee Hysan Foundation!) which helped us above the water and breathe for March. 

The higher calling than just survival

With the whole team (including 5 other board members and 6 other foreign country managers/board members) all working in full power, I know it's a bigger calling to lead it the right way. I don't just want to lead us through the financial difficulty and survive, but I want to be respectful and build the right value within the team in the middle of adversity. It took about a year where most of this 15 people will come to you to discuss Soap Cycling "difficult matters". On one hand I felt great to be trusted, but on the other hand I also know I have to make the right decision and do it properly and respectfully while maintaining balance of the team. These are real people who took the extra mile to serve the community; they are real characters who can have highs and lows; they are real lives that we are facing.

Speaking of real lives: externally, our work the last two months have been, we hope, impactful as well. We distributed to over 5000 people for over 10k soap, 30k hand sanitisers, 25k masks to fight the epidemic. They are to migrant workers, poor villages, street cleaners and general public. Almost all the time we did the distribute personally: as in we didn't just dump the resources and leave. We spend time to talk to the people and tell them the importance of personal hygiene and washing hand with soap. 

Personal Plea

We are all pretty tired, at least I am. I also don't want Sharon to bear more responsibilities as she returns to work while being a mum. All in all, this is a personal plea that I would love to continue this journey: learning to build a respectful and sincere team to help the community through this difficulty. Your support, at whatever amount, will be tremendous to keep this going. We pledge we take this opportunity not only to stay afloat, but to reflect upon ourselves whether donations have been put to right use, whether we can improve our programs, our operation model as well as how to create better impact to the society.

Last but not least, I added a bit of "Perks" as an "incentive" for your donation - but really most of it is simply to have a chance for us to share more about life. One thing I learnt through COVID-19 and Soap Cycling ... we are all human, we should all respect and love more. We are together.

 

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Justen

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Funds raised on this page will go to:

Soap Cycling

Putting recycled soap into the hands who need it the most - saving the environment, empowering the community and promoting hygiene.

Get Perks
  • Tax-exempt Receipt

    HKD 100      Physical

    Soap Cycling is a registered charitable organization in Hong Kong and every donation over HK$100 we will upon your request issue a tax-exempt receipt.

    8 claimed

  • A Drink At Sugar, East Hong Kong

    HKD 500      Physical

    We can go hang out in East Hong Kong and first drink are on me!

    5 claimed

  • Dinner At Mr. And Mrs. Fox

    HKD 1000      Physical

    We can go hang out in Mr. and Mrs. Fox for dinner

    2 claimed

  • Dinner At Cafe Gray, Upper House

    HKD 2000      Physical

    We can go hang out in the best hotel in Hong Kong the Upper House and have a dinner at Cafe Gray!

    1 claimed