Dream is a necessity to many, even though not every of them is achievable. Sara used to endeavor for her dream until efforts were defeated by her unfortunate suffering of depression.
Having keen interest in hair design, Sara had worked for many salons in hope of gaining enough experience and acquiring sufficient techniques and skills in the business. She even once considered being an outstanding hair stylist as her lifetime pursuit, until she was employed by a well-known franchised salon where unpredictable transition occurred in her career. That was the first time she perceived the complexity within the business. Fierce competition among coworkers was never her expectation. Being an outcast in the group, her determination began to vacillate. Unstable mind state and unbearable work stress had disturbed her emotions and ultimately she decided to quit.
Due to mental health issue, Sara was not able to work regularly, and had to live by Comprehensive Social Security Assistance (CSSA). With the advice of social worker, Sara agreed to receive medical treatment and was diagnosed depression. Fortunately, her emotions got stable after hospitalization. She had not only received clerical training under occupational therapy, but also spared time to read a lot of books to help herself understand depression. In order to assist Sara to return to society, hospital had offered her many opportunities to visit different social enterprises, through which she encountered New Life Psychiatric Rehabilitation Association for the first time.
Upon discharge, Sara was arranged to live in halfway house. At that time, one of New Life’s social enterprises - The New Life Restaurant happened to recruit trainee. With good impression on New Life cafe’s environment and food quality, Sara joined the trainee programme as referred by the hospital.
Sara mainly received training as a waitress and a cashier in the restaurant. Due to her excellent performance, she was offered a part-time Event Assistant post and was further given an opportunity to participate in on-site catering service. Later on she was formally recruited to handle on-site catering orders in office. At the opening of the first cafe330 in Prince of Wales Hospital, Sara was assigned to handle cashier and clerical work.
Sara believed that working in a safe social enterprise environment would facilitate her re-connection with the society. Even though being a hair stylist was her interest, overtime working hour, low income and the harm caused by hair dye to the skin prevented her from returning to the business. In addition, Sara was keen on tasting new food. In New Life Restaurant and cafe330, she could enjoy the opportunities to try a rich variety of delicacy as a reward of her hard work. Therefore, even her dream as a hair stylist was deterred by depression, destiny had opened up a new path for her.
cafe330, where Sara used to contribute her time and effort in, is one of the social enterprises under New Life Psychiatric Rehabilitation Association. Since the first one opened in 2011 in Prince of Wales Hospital, there are a total of 4 in operation now. One of our goals to run catering business is to remind the public the significance of healthy diet. And more importantly, we manage to offer professional training to our service users, such as coffee making, food preparation, collecting payment and serving guests with beverage and food. They will be able to learn and practice their job skills and gain confidence through real life training. Ultimately, we hope to assist them to build their capacity and reintegrate into the society.
Caritas Medical Centre
4/F Wai Shun Block, Caritas Medical Centre, 111 Wing Hong Street, Sham Shui Po, Kowloon
Opening Hours: 7:30am- 8:30pm
Tel: 2351 5611
Prince of Wales Hospital
Level 1, Main Clinical Block & Trauma Centre, Prince of Wales Hospital, 30-32 Ngan Shing Street, Shatin
Opening Hours: 7:00am- 9:00pm
Tel: 2637 3112
The Chinese University of Hong Kong
101A, 1/F, Yasumoto International Academic Park, the Chinese University of Hong Kong
Mon-Fri: 8:00am - 8:30pm
Sat: 8:00am – 8:00pm
Sun & PH: Close
Tel: 2994 3932
The University of Hong Kong
Room 203, 2/F., Chong Yuet Ming Amenities Centre, the University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, HK
Mon-Fri: 7:30am – 8:30pm
Sat, Sun & PH: 10:00am – 6:30pm
Tel: 2794 3778
For past articles, please click here