Meet Gabrielle. She joined our Project Home Works programme, as a part of the HandsOn Hong Kong Serve-a-thon in June 2022. She alongside two other young volunteers renovated ceilings for an elderly woman living alone in substandard housing. It was a very hot summer day, but the volunteers powered through the heat and felt very satisfied with their work for the day.

When Gabrielle learnt that the bits falling off the ceiling would affect her cooking, she said ‘’When I think about the bits of the ceiling falling to your food, from a health and sanitary point of view, its something very simple, just cleaning the ceiling but it can make a big difference.’’

Before we wrapped up the volunteer day, volunteers have to clean and tidy up Grandma Ma’s home. However, Grandma Ma insisted on doing the cleaning herself. Some volunteers felt frustrated because they wanted to help, but Gabrielle said ‘’I think it was on your volunteer pack how dignity is such an important thing. We went into the volunteer activity thinking to help a senior, but in her manner, she showed to us that she is fully capable of doing certain things. Although she could not get on the ladder and do the ceiling part, but I think when it got to the cleaning part, she felt like she could do this, it was her saying ‘’I can do this, I got this, this is my home and I know how I want it’’.

Gabrielle reflected ‘’I think it is good to do a hands-on and practical activity with other people. It’s lovely to meet new people, learn a new skill and to do something that is a very tangible benefit and at the end of the session we could see. When we walked in and the ceiling was damaged, bits falling off and uneven, by the end of it, it was a nice, clean, and newly painted ceiling which hopefully makes the living environment nice and comfortable for Grandma Ma”.

A massive thank you to our volunteers and HandsOn Hong Kong for organising such an amazing community volunteering event every year! Every volunteer can make a difference and help us to achieve our vision of a world where everyone has a decent place to live.