"Compassion, to me, means being able to bring people with differences together through a shared common language and that, for me, is sports."
“Here at Love 21, we’re passionate about using sports and nutrition to empower individuals with Down syndrome, autism or other intellectual disabilities. Prior to this job, I had no experience interacting with people with Down syndrome or autism. I remember teaching my first football class here and being blown away by all the talent and energy. Over time, I learned to be a more effective communicator; I would speak more slowly and with more confidence, using hand gestures and body language to express myself. Compassion, to me, means being able to bring people with differences together through a shared common language and that, for me, is sports. It is amazing to see how the kids interact with each other. People with autism can sometimes be more reserved initially, but gradually open up as they get used to the people and surroundings. On the other hand, many individuals with Down syndrome are very enthusiastic, warm and welcoming – so they help to balance out and complement each other, which is so wonderful to see!” 「喺 Love 21呢度，我哋好希望透過運動同埋有營養嘅飲食去提升唐氏綜合症以及自閉症患者嘅身心健康。喺未做呢份工之前，我未試過同有唐氏綜合症或者自閉症嘅人接觸。我仲記得喺度教踢波嘅第一堂，同學嘅天份同埋活力完全打動咗我。做耐咗之後，我學識教班嘅時候點樣溝通，我會講嘢放慢啲，俾多啲自信，用好多手勢同埋身體語言去表達自己。同理心，對於我嚟講，係要用一種共同嘅語言去將唔同嘅人帶埋一齊，而對我嚟講，嗰種共同語言就係運動。睇住我哋班呢班會員點樣互相溝通真係好有意思。自閉症嘅會員一開頭可能會比較拘謹，但係當佢哋習慣到身邊嘅人同埋環境之後，佢哋會慢慢放鬆啲。相反呢，好多唐氏綜合症嘅會員都係特別熱情同埋鍾意同人接觸，大家可以互相平衡同埋支持大家，呢個作用係好奇妙㗎！」
“I did a bit of everything when I first joined; I organised programmes, planned activities, managed the operations, did the books and wrote funding proposals…I never thought I would work in the non-profit sector growing up. My first job was at a restaurant kitchen, where I helped to prepare and cook food. Then I moved on to do accounting, which I found quite monotonous. I stumbled upon an opportunity online for Love 21, where all my seemingly incongruous skills seemed to have been put together in this one job description. With my accounting skills, passion for sports and love for cooking – it seemed to fit like a glove! I remember feeling so eager to get started and to help implement the vision. I was constantly learning new things back then and I’m still constantly learning now. It was so exciting at the time to see everything grow from scratch. That’s the part of the job that I enjoy the most – it’s a constant challenge but also so meaningful, which is what keeps me going. When people think of NGO workers, they might picture someone fundraising on the streets, but in reality the work that we do is so diverse and a lot more hands on. Many of my peers from school have chosen more traditional careers in IT, finance or consulting but I just love the breadth and dynamism of working in the non-profit sector and haven’t looked back since.” 「一開始加入嘅時候我咩都會做，我會統籌項目啦、設計活動，亦都會兼顧埋機構嘅日常運作，包括做會計，寫計畫書等。細個嗰陣我從來冇諗過自己會做非牟利嘅工作。我第一份工係喺一間餐廳裏面做廚師，要負責準備同埋煮菜式。之後我轉左去做會計，我覺得都幾悶。偶然間我見到 Love 21 呢度請人，個職位要求好似將我所有唔相關嘅能力全部連埋晒一齊咁。我有會計經驗，又鍾意運動同埋煮嘢食，簡直係天作之合！我記得我真係好期待去返工，好想幫手實踐呢個願景。嗰時我不斷要學新嘅技能，而家我都仲要繼續學㗎。見住啲嘢由零開始慢慢變到有成果，真係好有成功感。佢亦都係我做嘢最享受嘅一部份，我嘅工作長期都係一個挑戰，但係好有意義，所以令我有動力繼續向前。當大家聽到做慈善機構，可能會諗起喺街上面籌款嘅人，但係其實我哋所做嘅社福工作係好加多元化及貼地。我有好多同學都選擇咗傳統嘅行業，好似係電腦啊、金融或者係顧問服務咁，但係我鐘意從事慈善工作，因為工作範圍好廣泛又講求靈活變通, 所以我從來冇後悔過。」
“I’ve always been a sports fanatic – table tennis, volleyball, snooker, swimming, track and field…you name it! I love being able to share my love for sports with our members and to give them the opportunity to try new things and grow. There is a lot of stigma around people with special needs and so many issues are not discussed, but I really think that everyone deserves to be treated with respect, dignity and compassion, and to be given an opportunity to take part in what they enjoy. At the end of the day, we are all more similar to each other than we might think, especially on the sports field or court! Through engaging with the parents of kids with special needs, I realised that the needs of these parents are often overshadowed by those of the child. That’s why we also provide counselling programmes for the parents – to truly support an individual it’s also important to support those around them!” 「我係一個運動迷，乒乓波、排球、桌球、游水、田徑……樣樣都啱！我好鍾意同我哋既會員分享我對運動嘅熱情，等佢哋有機會試新嘢同埋成長。社會上對於有特殊需要嘅人士有好多偏見，所以好多議題都唔會點討論。我覺得所有人都應該被尊重同關懷，同埋得到機會尋找同發掘自我。再講吖，其實我哋比想像中更加相似，尤其係做緊運動嗰陣時！接觸過特殊需要小朋友嘅家長之後，我發現佢哋好多時掛住照顧小朋友，忽略咗自己嘅需要。所以我哋都會提供家長輔導服務。要真正支援到一個人，確保佢身邊嘅人有支援都好重要！」