Early childhood education is critical as it directly impacts a child’s cognitive and social development, which sets the foundation for realising his or her full potential as an adult. The K3 Sponsorship Programme enables children of refugees to attend kindergarten through matching children in need with sponsors.
Disclaimer: Assistance for the Refugee and Asylum Seeker community will be provided to all eligible members in need, irrespective of their faith, beliefs, age, race, country of origin, sexual orientation, gender identity and everything else – without exception
Early childhood education is critical as it directly impacts a child’s cognitive and social development, which sets the foundation for realising full potential as an adult. Keeping Kids
in Kindergarten (K3) is a sponsorship programme which enables refugee or asylum seeker children to regularly attend kindergarten.
Attending kindergarten includes many costs that are impossible for a refugee family to afford. Many times, if their child is accepted into kindergarten through the government education scheme, they cannot accept the place because of the ancillary costs.
Refugee and asylum seeker children are permitted, on a case-by-case basis, to attend kindergarten tuition-free under the Free Quality Kindergarten Scheme (FQKS) Even though the families could apply for the government’s Grant for School-related Expenses for Kindergarten Students, it does not provide enough to cover expenses such as the uniforms, books, snack fees, school activity fees and transportation.
Below is a chart showing the cost for the most basic educational items required by schools taken from data collected from last academic year 2021-2022. These figures reflect the average cost across the 22 kindergartens that our sponsored children were attending, and thus the gap that must be bridged so that children can avail the FQK scheme.
|Summer Uniform||$ 319|
|Winter Uniform||$ 405|
|2 Pairs of Shoes||$ 457|
|Book Fees (including school bag)||$ 2480|
|Transport (2-way transportation for parent and child)||$ 3960|
Furthermore, the Student Finance Office (“SFO”) does not disburse the amount for students to pay for school-related expenses in time to facilitate crucial payments for them to start school. Parents always struggle to get hold of the cash that is required to purchase school textbooks, uniform, stationeries, as well as other miscellaneous fees that may be required by the school, e.g. Parent-Teacher Association membership fee, etc. The fund disbursed by the SFO does in effect cover them partially as a reimbursement eventually, but there is still a significant amount that parents will have to bear in ensuring that their children can attend school, which is not covered by the student financial assistance.
In addition to the high cost of attending kindergarten, another barrier hindering refugee and asylum seekers children in accessing school or staying in school is the complicated and lengthily kindergarten application procedures, language barriers among school and parents and insufficient support available to both parents and children in general.
Since the ROAD Programme introduced the Keeping Kids in Kindergarten (K3) Sponsorship Programme in 2014, over 400 kids were sponsored by generous sponsors. You can change a life by sponsoring a child to attend kindergarten HERE. When you join Keeping Kids in Kindergarten and sign up in 2023, this sponsorship will go toward the child for the academic year of 2023/ 2024. Our enrolment for beneficiaries begins in June and ends in August of every year.
Megh* came to Hong Kong in 2015 from Bangladesh, and her son was born three years later with a serious heart condition. While her son struggled with his heart condition, Megh’s daughter also began kindergarten. Without the ability to work, she struggled to pay for her daughter’s external kindergarten costs.
However, after Megh became connected with Branches of Hope, she was able to receive assistance from the Keeping Kids in Kindergarten sponsorship for her daughter. With support from sponsorship, Megh was able to pay for her daughter’s school books, stationery, uniform, registration fees, and other costs not covered by the government.
The situation changed drastically during the pandemic when schools closed and students were asked to study online. Megh was once again at a disadvantage. The technology she had access to at home was limited, so her daughter had to use Megh’s phone to watch class recordings. Volunteers from Branches of Hope went on a home visit to see Megh and became aware of her limited access to technology and its impact on the daughter’s schooling. Branches of Hope realized the value of setting her up with a laptop.
Through assistance from the sponsorship, Megh was able to alleviate some of the difficulties of simultaneously raising her ill son and funding her daughter’s education. Amidst the pandemic, the type of support she received evolved, so her daughter could continue to learn despite the technology divide.
*Name has been changed to protect her identity, and photo is from stock image.