Society for Community Organization
In 1971, Hong Kong was in the midst of an unprecedented economic boom and the then conservative colonial government was confronted with rampant corruption within its ranks. There was great poverty and the underprivileged – including boat people, resettlement estate residents and squatters – were overwhelmingly high in numbers.
The Society for Community Organization (SoCO) was formed in 1971 by a group of clergymen and people who cared for Hong Kong’s development and campaigned for a fair and just social system. Through the promotion of civil rights and the organization of the affected people, they promoted respect for those people’s rights and equality for all members of society.
Over 40 years later, Hong Kong is regarded as one of the richest cities in the world. However, lurking beneath this prosperity is great wealth inequality and a forgotten group of poor people. Hundreds of thousands of people still live in caged homes and wood-partitioned cubicles, while the unemployed, newly arrived families from China and children in poverty struggle for survival. The underprivileged who SoCO support are increasing in numbers – while the city’s wealth continues to accumulate.
These large groups of people, who are both economically and politically disadvantaged, have their basic human rights neglected by the decision-makers. By organizing the affected people, training residents and staging a series of social actions, SoCO has enabled these people to build self-confidence, understand their rights and acquire the courage to reflect policy problems to the powers-that-be. Originally an underprivileged group of people, they have in unison become a stronger force to propel the reform of an unjust social system. SoCO also works within the community to help the poor, provide support services to grassroots people and mobilize resources and people from different sectors to take part in poverty relief.
Faced with rapid changes in society, SoCO continuously works together with grassroots people to fight for a reasonable livelihood by upholding the principles of “equality for everybody,” “promotion of civil rights” and “implementing justice.” They will continue to soldier on with the underprivileged and hope more people will join forces with us to safeguard human rights and the rule of law, thus enabling the development of a caring and just society.
In the coming years, SoCO will stand four squares behind the grassroots in supporting them fight for their rights and social justice. By doing so, they hope that they can realize their common dream of making “all members of human family equal”.
Grassroots people are struggling day in and day out to keep their head above water. It is most scornful to see economic development brings social inequality. These deprived cannot enjoy their economic success and they are socially discriminated. They have been snubbed and fallen into oblivion. Standing in the line of underprivileged are caged lodgers, tenants with financial difficulties and living in appalling conditions, aged singletons, street-sleepers, ex-offenders, mentally ill patients, ethnic minorities, non-documented mothers of split families, families made up of new immigrants, patients and their families, Hong Kong residents being detained at the Mainland, etc. They are their serving targets.See more