4 Mins Read
How was Child Welfare Scheme (CWS) started?
Douglas Maclagan, a tourist at the time and now the founder of CWS, was 28 when he had a life-changing experience in the mountains of Nepal. He was handed a sick baby girl, just one year old, by her distraught mother who was desperate for help. The girl did not make it through the night. That moment changed Douglas’ life forever, and CWS began.
At that time 33% of Nepal’s children did not reach their 5th birthday. Douglas was determined to help, and asked the villagers what they needed most. They needed a safe place for children to play while they worked in the field and access to free, basic health care. Together they developed the concept of Day Care Health Centres, trained local women to be teachers and primary health care workers and built the first two centers with Douglas’ own savings. Child Welfare Scheme was established as a charity in Nepal in 1997 and in Hong Kong in 2003 and has continued to develop projects based on empowering communities and implementing projects at a local level. Since then, the charity has grown from helping a few hundred children in remote mountain villages to one that directly benefits over 30, 000 children & women directly every year, both in rural and urban Nepal.
What is the mission of CWS?
Our mission is to provide protection, education, health care and opportunities to disadvantaged children and their families in Nepal. We partner with grassroots local partners in Nepal to deliver projects that are low cost, high impact and offer sustainable solutions.
Thanks to the wonderful support of the Hong Kong community, we currently support over 26, 000 children directly and thousands more indirectly through the following projects:
- -A vocational training centre supporting over 200 youths each year through training & employment support as well as counseling.
- -Day Care Centers in rural communities supporting over 600 children between 2 & 6 years of age each year. This project also supports mothers by caring for their young children while they earn a living.
- -A primary healthcare, health education, and capacity building project benefiting 23, 000 individuals through 63, 000 interventions.
- -A Street Project supporting over 750 street living and working children each year through access to essential services such as shelter, food, healthcare and non formal education.
- -A trafficking prevention project reaching over 1, 700 young adults looking to find work opportunities abroad. The project provides them with counseling and advice on how to protect themselves against trafficking. The project also works at the grassroots level and with local communities through networks of adolescents and survivors to sensitize them and empower them against trafficking.
- -An apprenticeship and hospitality training programme supporting 25 disadvantaged youth. The programme trains these youth to become housekeepers, cooks and waiters. The programme also provides opportunities to work abroad for a year with our partner Movenpick Hotels & Resorts.
- -A home supporting 11 children & 2 women affected by HIV/AIDS and providing them with a family, love, support, education and a happy life.
What is CWS’s geographical focus?
CWS is focused on Nepal and works in both rural and urban communities.
What are CWS’s goals for Hong Kong specifically?
CWS in Hong Kong has a strong Governing Board, which performs due diligence on projects and provides funding & training to our partners in Nepal. Our goal in Hong Kong is to recruit passionate volunteers to support our fundraising efforts.
How can Hong Kongers get involved with CWS?
Hong Kong has been extremely kind to us. Thanks to all our friends here we have been able to provide life changing services to so many communities. We would love to see friends organize their own events to help raise funds and awareness for our work.
CWS occasionally organizes its own events too from family fun days to sporting challenges. We would love to see more Hong Kong-ers sign up and take part.
Other ways to get involved are by making a personal donation and inviting your school/company/Foundation to support our work through grants.
What are some of your favourite charities, other than CWS of course?
We really like the work of Foodlink Foundation, Art in Hospital and Senior Citizen Home Safety Association. We are lucky in Hong Kong- the government has a strong educational system that provides adequate education to all. Food waste, looking after the elderly and the ill is vital in Hong Kong and we feel there is a strong role for NGOs to play in these sectors.
All photos courtesy of Child Welfare Scheme (CWS).