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Love Our Neighbours as Ourselves

Love Our Neighbours as Ourselves

Wan Nok, Venus’s Story
Faculty of Law

CantoGather was founded in 2017 by a group of HKU students who noticed that ethnic minorities living in Hong Kong face major language obstacles due to insufficient language support in schools. Dedicated to making a difference by loving neighbours as themselves, Florence, Venus, and Amy came together and started CantoGather. The team grew over the years, gradually becoming a startup that recruits HKU students to offer weekly Chinese and Cantonese tutorials to groups of junior primary school students. CantoGather also organises various cultural activities between the HKU tutors, young ethnic minority students and their parents from time to time in promoting social integration and cultural understanding. Their main goal is to promote outreach with education through social inclusion.

As CantoGather grew, it became difficult in pulling everything together, especially when they are working to establish CantoGather as an official NGO with the vision to expand the programme to benefit more ethnic minorities in Hong Kong. However, Florence, the founder, believes that development-wise, it is all about setting your priorities and time right, putting what is most important first. She also believes that communication is important in such a large group. While there is no hierarchy in CantoGather, it is important to share responsibilities, solve problems together, and plan ahead as you involve more people. Venus, the co-founder, is a firm advocate for “whatever it takes”. She does not give up easily, and while it was not easy putting such a big picture together, she strived and moved forward because she believes everything has a solution, and her heart to continue helping never fades. Together, they want to make small changes through little steps.

Photo of Venus teaching Cantonese
“If I had given up back then. I wouldn't be here today.”

“As a law student, I understand that justice does not always have to come from the top. While there are things that are not within our vicinity to change, there are still many little ways we can help to make Hong Kong a better place, and working as a CantoGatherer to serve the kids in need is one example.”

The times of COVID-19 have undeniably impeded the extent of activities CantoGather is able to provide. While there were fewer physical activities organised, they had less gathering and interaction. The founders believe this led to less real-life experiences and bonding time due to the distance created by the pandemic. Nevertheless, it was only during CantoGather that people still meet, even if it is through zoom.

“CantoGather is probably the only time the ethnic minorities have a chance to meet, despite it being a virtual meeting, and that is all that matters,” Venus firmly claims.

They hope that in the future, there will be no division of majority and minority through communication. While it seems that they do not have a ready plan in the near future, the main players of CantoGather are determinedly unwilling to give this project up so easily. After all, they have been through so much to come this far, it is only fair to see this go on, just like Venus said: “If I had given up back then. I wouldn't be here today.”

Written by:
Samantha Ho
Year 4, Faculty of Business and Economics (HKU Business School)
May 2021

Love Our Neighbours as Ourselves