The ICONIC Mums Program had its sixth workshop “Community Development: Neighborhood Programs Workshop” on 19 August 2017. We visited St. James Settlement in Wan Chai to learn about how the Community Oriented Mutual Economy (COME) has connected and empowered the Wan Chai neighborhood, as well as to brainstorm what we can do for our community project that will kick start after the workshop.
轉眼間ICONIC媽媽課程的工作坊系列已經來到第六次了！在2017年8月19日舉行的 “社區發展：鄰舍計劃工作坊” ，旨在了解聖雅各福群會於灣仔推行的社區經濟互助計劃，認識此項計劃如何連結起並賦權予街坊，也讓我們思考想為自己的社區舉行一個怎樣的社區項目。
The workshop started off with learning how to greet each other in different languages which showed the uniqueness of being an intercultural program. We had a revision on how to greet in Hindi: putting our hands together and say “namaste”. Then, a Pakistani mum taught us how to greet Muslims: by saying “assalamu alaykum”, meaning “may God keep you save”. The sounds of greetings kept warming us up as we practiced “cho sun” (meaning “good morning” in Cantonese) and “ni hao” (meaning “hello” in Putonghua). After the practice, we are all able to greet in various languages!
作為一個跨文化的課程，我們在工作坊開始前先學習如何以不同語言打招呼。首先，我們重溫了如何用印度語打招呼 - 雙手合十說 “Namaste”。然後，其中一位巴基斯坦裔媽媽教我們說 “Assalamu alaykum”，這是穆斯林的問候語，意思為 “祝你平安”。隨後，我們又學了用廣東話說 “早晨”，以及用普通話說 “早上好”。重溫幾次以後，大家都能以幾種語言與朋友打招呼了!
Do you know all these greetings?
Ms. Dora Cheng, a social worker of St. James Settlement, told us that COME has been launched for almost 20 years. Although Hong Kong has faced various economic downturns since 1997, difficulties also created opportunities. Residents in Wan Chai realized the importance of mutual support and community connectedness. COME is formed by residents from all walks of life, who are eager to contribute and participate actively, and as a result various project teams and social enterprises have been established. In addition, the “Time Coupon” system has been introduced. It pioneers the concept of exchanging goods and services by labor hours instead of cash.
接著，聖雅各福群會社工鄭淑貞姑娘為我們介紹COME。不說不知，原來COME已經在灣仔推行了接近二十年。雖然香港自1997年起經歷了不少風雨，但有危也有機，街坊慢慢明白到社區支援與連結的重要性。COME聚集到一班有心的街坊一起參與發展，規模越來越大，現在已成立了不同小組與社會企業。社區貨幣 “時分劵” 也是COME的一部分，不論你從事哪樣職業，勞動的時間都可以換來同等價值。時分券可以於COME的社區組織換取貨品或服務，真正做到 ”勞動有價”。
We were divided into two groups for a community tour to the Ground Works and the Time Coupon Place guided by Dora and a resident Sau Ping. The Ground Works is a social enterprise managed by Wan Chai residents. They sell local organic vegetables, as well as home recipe products such as the Five Elements Radish Cake. The Time Coupon Place is a place where residents can use time coupons to exchange for goods and services. It is also a gathering point for neighbors to stay for a chat and a cup of tea. The strong community bond in Wan Chai was reflected when Dora and Sau Ping kept greeting other residents in the community tour.
Visiting the Time Coupon Place
Handmade sesame candies
Back at the St. James Settlement Building, Sau Ping taught us how to use orange peel, sugar, and water to make garbage enzyme. This product is a multipurpose cleaner which is environmentally friendly. We learned that it is most important to get the precise proportion of the ingredients, and be patient in waiting for the completion of fermentation, which takes three months. All of us are now looking forward to the completion of own handmade garbage enzyme, and we are eager to share the new skills with our friends.
Making garbage enzyme: everyone looked so serious!
The workshop ended with an organic vegetarian lunch prepared by Wan Chai residents. Apart from guiding us to taste the freshness and different tastes of the natural ingredients, Dora explained to us the stories behind these ingredients and dishes. By knowing more about the production process, it seemed that we, as consumers, were reconnected to the land and producers.
Our lunch menu
We were really inspired by the efforts and perseverance of the Wan Chai residents. All of us can’t wait to give a try on our own community project. The ICONIC mums started to design their projects, and everyone is looking forward to seeing each other’s achievement in the closing ceremony in November!