👸And the 2022 Diana Award for Social Justice goes to.....
Leader of The Week | Justin Kim - Social Activist, Humanitarian, Naughty High Schooler - Justin Kim
I'm Justin Kim, a rising senior and the head boy at Chinese International School. As a martial-arts/debate/tech enthusiast and youth changemaker, I am committed to empowering minorities through democratising access to self-defence tools, socio-political discourse, and innovation.
Passionate about supporting and empowering disadvantaged communities, I founded Kick Action Hong Kong, a grassroots, youth-led nonprofit that serves domestic workers through weekly self-defence programs. I am also the President of the Hong Kong Interschool Debating Organisation (HKIDO), and the Founder of the Hong Kong Online World Schools Debating Championships International (HKOWSDCI), two debating nonprofits that have collectively brought free debating tournaments, workshops, and events to more than 2000 students from 30+ countries.
Furthermore, I am the leader of CISxIdeas, Chinese International School's STEM and Innovation group - we are known for hosting annual STEMxSDG hackathons together with Microsoft Hong Kong, with the collective goal of inspiring the youth to embrace technology for a better society.
Recently, I have been recognised with the highest accolade a young person can achieve for social action or humanitarian efforts – The Diana Award
Established in memory of Diana, Princess of Wales, the Award is given out by the charity of the same name and has the support of both her sons, The Duke of Cambridge and The Duke of Sussex.
To learn more about my humanitarian work or the Diana Award, feel free to read on!
Hong Kong’s Own Diana Award Winner!
Simply put, I won my Diana Award for my efforts in using what I love to help others. I am humbled to have been recognised by The Diana Award for my passion in serving the communities I love.
Having befriended many domestic workers and refugees, it became a lot easier empathise with the inequities they faced. Connecting the dots between the matters I found unjust and my own talents was crucial in both motivating and inspiring me to create numerous programs in sports, debate, and technology to build skills and confidence for domestic workers, refugees, and under-resourced students.
Fundamentally, I believe in challenging the underlying systems that disempower and devalue individuals by creating platforms where everyone, especially those benefiting from structural inequality, can engage in important socio-political discourse.
The Diana Award is the highest accolade a young person can achieve for social action or humanitarian efforts and Princess Diana is a role model I admire a lot. I deeply respect her lifelong commitment to breaking stigmas, as she did with HIV, and using her platform to change the way people viewed social issues. As the president/patron of over 100 charities, she has proven that the sky is the limit. I am enthralled to now be part of The Diana Award network and look forward to sharing my changemaking insights and experiences with other bright, passionate youth changemakers in Hong Kong.
Local News of Great Social Importance
During Covid-19, almost three-quarters of Hong Kong refugees unable to buy food during fifth wave.
"73 percent of refugees and asylum seekers — legally forbidden from working in Hong Kong — were unable to buy food between late February and early March"
The ubiquitous influence of inflation is felt by all Hong Kong citizens. However, the surging prices of meals and supplies in supermarkets have disproportionately harmed asylum seekers and refugees in Hong Kong, who live in limbo.
A stagnant government allowance of ~1200HKD a month is all refugees have to support themselves, with no available legal opportunities to earn an income.
I find this greatly unjust.
Having spoken to a wide variety of refugees in Hong Kong, I know that the circumstances they have faced in their countries of origin are brutal, ranging from war or tribal conflict to political imprisonment. It is clear that many have escaped for reasons outside of their control.
Learning of these circumstances called me to action. I have targeted the services of two nonprofits I lead - Oneinchvertical, a sports NGO based in Chinese International School, and HKIDO - towards supporting refugee welfare and well-being.
With Oneinchvertical, we have provided more than 200 hours of coaching to 100+ refugees. With HKIDO, we recently held a charity debating tournament that, alone, raised more than 30,000HKD for RUN Hong Kong.
Domestic workers play an instrumental role in both the economic and cultural development of Hong Kong.
Even during Hong Kong's tumultuous periods of political polarisation and economic decline, domestic workers have been there for Hong Kong’s citizens, contributing heavily to childcare, enabling many women to work.
But despite the crucial role domestic workers play in HK's economy, they are undervalued and in many cases mistreated and neglected. During a Missions for Migrant Workers event, a group of domestic workers opened up to me about how worthless and insignificant they felt from being abused by their employers.
Seeing their need for empowerment was the reason I started Kick Action (more on that below!)
Justin’s Social Enterprises
Kick Action HK
I founded Kick Action HK, a grassroots, youth-led nonprofit that serves domestic workers through weekly self-defence programs. We are students who are motivated by our frustration with the condescending treatment towards domestic workers in Hong Kong and aim to use our skills in Taekwondo/Boxing/MMA to universalise access to the spiritual, mental, and physical benefits brought by the martial arts.
We have spread our love of the martial arts to more than 300 domestic workers and reached 50,000+ domestic workers on SNS through content, ranging from online martial arts tutorials to our UN International Youth Day wood-breaking show. We look forward to extending our mission to Singaporean migrant workers, who, unfortunately, face similar levels of discrimination as those in Hong Kong.
Kick Action democratizes self-learned, spiritual empowerment through the martial arts, a system of self defense that was historically founded on combating oppression. The martial arts aim to elevate the self-appraised worth of domestic workers, therefore reducing inequality, and promote good health and wellbeing.
To learn more about the challenges many domestic workers face and how Kick Action HK is working to solve them, check out my "Best Letter of the Month" award-winning letter “Martial Arts for Domestic Workers; how Social Media Harms Mental Health” on SCMP’s Young Post.
CISxIdeas was founded as a STEM-based, innovation-driven and teen-led organization based at Chinese International School (CIS), encouraging student coders, designers, engineers, and entrepreneurs to engage with global issues through events, like hackathons, workshops, and challenges.
From its beginning in 2019, the belief that STEM should be used as a mechanism to empower communities, innovate, and democratize resources has been central to CISxIdeas. Hence, they have spearheaded initiatives that focus on addressing the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), such as the first student-led STEMxSDG hackathon in Asia.
These endeavors were created with the hope of students around the world beginning to perceive STEM as not only a coalition of academic subjects, but rather a set of powerful tools that have the capacity to tackle the world’s biggest challenges.
By making all of its events pro-bono, CISxIdeas also aims to make STEM, and opportunities for its application beyond the classroom, accessible. To accomplish such goals, CISxIdeas has worked with global leaders in social impact through STEM, such as Microsoft, KIDsforSDGs, various United Nations agencies such as UNITAR, global NGOs and local stakeholders such as Cobo Academy and Teach for Hong Kong.
We also co-hosted a hackathon with KIDsforSDGs and Learning Planet, a global education network founded by UNESCO, for more than 250 students from 18 countries! - CISxIdeas X KIDsforSDGs hackathon.
Events to join Justin in
CISxIdeas hosts an annual STEMxSDG hackathon! It’s free-of-charge and will be held during Mid-November. Our hackathons are unique in that you don't need to be an experienced coder to perform well!
We provide workshops and tutorials on a variety of softwares/technologies, meaning that the only thing you really need is an open-mind and passion to address the United Nations SDGs.
Stay tuned for updates on our partners, registration, and prizes for the event by following @cisxideas on Instagram or check us out at cisxideas.com!
If you're interested in joining our domestic workers and Kick Action coaches on a Sunday morning for a refreshing, uplifting martial-arts workout, feel free to join us at Victoria Park!
Just shoot us a message on Facebook!
We would be more than happy to have you join! For free of course :)
Justin’s secret 👀
For someone so charitable and well-meaning, it must be surprisingly to know that everyone, even Justin, has gotten some detentions.
Find out what world renowned charitable head-boy did to get a detention in by becoming a Premium Subscriber for High Tide!
Other cool recommendations (that may or may not also be charities)
Movie Rec: Top Gun: Maverick I highly recommend you check out Tom Cruise's recent blockbuster film Top Gun: Maverick! What I found amazing about the movie is the fact that almost all the stunts (yes - the aviation stunts) are 100% authentic! Plus - it's always nice to get a couple glimpses at the man who never ages.
Book Rec: What you should know about politics but don't by Jessamyn Conrad In a day and age of increasing political polarisation and fragmentation, it has become increasingly difficult to find non-partisan, intellectual takes on some of the hottest political issues.
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