Leaping over Life’s Adversities
Leaping over Life’s Adversities

Making your way in the world has never been as fraught and challenging as it is for young people today, particularly when they come from disadvantaged backgrounds. An award programme with mentoring is helping them overcome the odds.



Schools forced to shut, social life suspended, job opportunities curtailed: The economic turmoil wreaked by the pandemic has made life more challenging than ever for young people struggling to find a path into the working world.


The impact is felt particularly keenly by disadvantaged youngsters whose prospects are further diminished by difficult family backgrounds, a lack of education resources, and an emotional rollercoaster in their home lives from early childhood.


A sympathetic ear and the support of mentors can make the world of difference, however, and that is why CLP Power decided in 2018 to sponsor the CLP Energy for Brighter Tomorrows Award programme organised by the Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups (HKFYG), in order to instil hope to the younger generation.


The award celebrates the positive attitudes and achievements of young people in challenging circumstances who stay resilient in the face of adversity and maintain an unwavering determination to pursue their life dreams.


The inspirational programme is part of CLP Power’s ongoing mission to encourage sustainability at all levels of Hong Kong society, with youth engagement and development a key focus.


Every year, around 200 young people are nominated by more than 100 schools in Hong Kong in a rigorous selection process that sees 20 students awarded with certificates and cash prizes of HK$5,000 each.


More importantly, however, award-winning students are teamed up with mentors who offer them a constant helping hand and listening ear, passing on their experience and support to the youngsters whenever it is needed.

CLP Energy for Brighter Tomorrows Award ceremony
CLP Power Chief Corporate Development Officer Quince Chong (middle) joins students and mentors at the programme’s 2021 awards ceremony.

Here are the moving stories from two award-winning students and their mentors.

Bake to the future

Born in Hong Kong, Grace Wong’s life was plunged into turmoil at the age of eight when her parents separated and she was sent to live with her stepmother in Shenzhen, where she dropped out of school.


Four years later, she returned to Hong Kong and re-enrolled in a primary school where she caught up with her studies and rose above her difficulties through a keen love for baking.


As she grew older, she fine-tuned her skills with a summer job in a restaurant. Wong is now a full-time student majoring in service management and runs her own online bakery.

A long-running friendship

Wong has been supported by mentor Jasmine Chan, an engineer with CLP Power. The pair bonded and still meet up for dinners even after their mentorship ended in 2020.


“We had a great time when we joined a long-distance running race at a sports carnival in 2019,” Wong recalls. “She waited for me to cross the finishing line, and that was so touching. I felt we’d really accomplished something together.


For her part, Chan is delighted at the way the programme has helped Wong and other young people navigate their way to a brighter future.


Grace Wong and Jasmine Chan
Grace Wong (right) says the support form mentor Jasmine Chan (left) was uplifting.
Jasmine Chan and Grace Wong
Mentor Jasmine Chan (right) and student Grace Wong (second from right) at the programme’s 2021 awards ceremony.

“The award gives them recognition and a confidence boost,” says Chan, who believes it gives students the strength to overcome challenges. “Our support warms their hearts and calms their restless minds.”


Chan has high hopes for Wong as she continues her journey into adulthood. “I hope Wong can broaden her horizons and social network, so that she can unleash her full potential and become more independent,” she says.


A hair-raising adolescence

Lok Leung grew up in a single-parent family and fell under the influence of street gangs when he dropped out of secondary school.


After a troubled period, he got an apprenticeship in a hairdressing salon and was put back on track by his employer who encouraged him to keep studying and set clear goals for his future.


At the age of 17, he returned to school as a junior secondary student to continue his interrupted education, and is now the owner of two barber shops.


Leung was teamed up with mentor Joe Lo, a CLP Senior Strategic Planner, under the award programme in 2018.


“It was the first recognition of that kind I had ever had in my life,” he says of his award. “I found hope in myself, and learned how to overcome difficulties with his help.”


Motivated by his award, Leung is now determined to give back to society by offering job opportunities to vulnerable young people in his barber shops.


Mentor Lo says he is proud of the way Leung’s entrepreneurial spirit has turned his life around – and says he has learnt important lessons from the youngsters himself.


“The inspiring stories of these young people have motivated me and other mentors,” he explains. “I’ve learnt from them that nothing should be taken for granted in life.”


Lo hopes Leung’s story will be an example to other youngsters. “My advice to them is to do the best you can and develop your strengths step by step. That way, you’ll get closer to success.” 

Lok Lenug and Joe Lo
Lok Leung (left) and his mentor Joe Lo (right) enjoy themselves at the e-Sports & Music Festival.