Yes, we finally opened our centre at 102 First Street, Sai Ying Poon! After working in the streets for two years, building a charity, assisting hundreds of refugees, developing efficient programs that solve problems and engage the community, at last we have our own bright and spacious “homebase”! We don’t like to call it office or even center, terms which doesn’t convey our purpose. We wish it to be a welcoming homebase, firstly for our members who struggle courageously through years of deprivation, secondly for our volunteers who braved weather, inconveniences and tough conditions in outreach, and finally, for the community to learn about Vision First and why we are so passionate about this mission. We want to take a moment to thank each of you for supporting us, our early efforts and subsequent endeavors. We would especially like to thank all of our long-time donors who believed in us two years ago and had faith we would deliver on our dream of proper operation. It wasn’t easy. It took longer than expected as we waited for a rent-free opportunity. You stuck with us! Your confidence kept us going and your donations powered this journey. Put simply, without your generosity there wouldn’t be VF and without VF there would be more suffering among the city’s refugees.
Since incorporation in June 2009, we have studied, listened to and absorbed your feedback and are now energized to march towards our next goals: a shelter and a community space. As you already know, our goal is to build sustainable solutions to pressing asylum problems, with due consideration of the challenge that is beyond any single NGO. We can’t tell you how important it is to us that the community rally behind meaningful charitable efforts – in this field and others – because it is only by reaching to a broader base that true solutions emerge. For example, seemingly out of the blue, yesterday we visited a landlord who offered our members four quality subdivided apartment: deposit-free, fully fitted, at ISS rent prices, with new a/c units, fans, water heaters and stores. Who? Somebody we’d never met before. Why? Because he heard he could trust us. How? With the simple signing of tenancy agreements, having handed over the keys last week. We must highlight this because we take no credit for this success, that simply landed on our lap. Having blogged about how hard-nosed most landlord we rent from are, this gentleman’s generosity proved us dead wrong! The point is, when efficient and convincing programs are in place, word-of-mouth is the best promotion and the Community loves to support those who assist others – especially the least cared for among us. Refugee welfare drives Vision First and we are privileged and honored to be of service any way we can. Our results have only been possible thanks to the dedication of our team and the generosity of our supporters, so today let’s join hands and be proud of our “homebase” – thank you!