At the time of its creation in 1948, the World Health Organization (WHO) deﬁned health as “a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or inﬁrmity”. It further declared that “the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health is one of the fundamental rights of every human being without distinction of race, religion, political belief, economic or social condition.”
Social progress and educational development are inter-connected in their fundamental values: they rely on each other, they stimulate each other. That demands access, equity, quality, and creativity. As we expect young people to excel academically, we inevitably urge the teaching professionals to be more than just dedicated craftsmen. While no one would argue against the critical role good schooling plays in economic success, the debate goes on as to how education can build character and instill high moral standards in the young, and what makes a good education that prepares young people to be tomorrow’s innovators, leaders, and engaged citizens. A strong educational system contributes to the vibrancy of society and ignites the spirit of community pro-activism and development. Guided by this belief, ZeShan focuses its efforts on the development of educational resources.
ZeShan subscribes to the belief that education is a path to transformation - personal and/or societal. Sharing a commitment to increasing access to education, ZeShan has in recent years partnered with its sister foundations (Si Yuan Foundation, Seeds Foundation, and River Star Foundation) to support quality education and training initiatives for young people and professionals with limited access to such opportunities. Such a collaborative effort provides a platform for young people to acquire knowledge and skills, and develop character and values that will help them perform better at what they do, and ultimately, improve their life chances.
Promotion of Strategic Philanthropy
ZeShan aspires to be a catalyst and a leveraging force in strategic philanthropy. The Foundation aims to address the causes of underlying problems, invest in solutions, seek synergies, promote innovation, and work towards ensuring the sustainability of our endeavors.
With the mandate to promote thoughtful and effective giving, ZeShan has in recent years taken a proactive role in promoting strategic philanthropy in Hong Kong. This has led the foundation to organize a conference on family philanthropy, the first on the subject to be initiated and hosted by a family foundation in Hong Kong, Share ZeShan’s experiences at other philanthropy conferences, and encourage wise giving in Hong Kong.
Human Services and Social Development in Hong Kong
While Hong Kong enjoys a relatively high GDP per capita, the reality is that poverty remains a very real issue that confronts nearly one in seven Hongkongers. A widening gap between the rich and the poor is denying individuals and their families’ access to opportunities and services, and aggravating social exclusion and inequality.
Disaster Relief and Community Rebuilding
While ZeShan emphasizes the longer-term impact of its work on society, it is also keenly aware of the immediate needs in the community and charity for humanitarian purposes. In response to the natural disasters that occurred in recent years, ZeShan supported the rescue and relief efforts of the Red Cross, Doctors without Border, World Vision and Oxfam, recognizing their first-time response capacities and strong community connections and logistic infrastructure in disaster-stricken regions. We also began to look at longer-term needs in post-disaster community rebuilding and the need to strengthen capacity for first-time response capacity. For example, with ZeShan’s support, the School of Public Health and Primary Care at the Chinese University of Hong Kong has initiated a multi-year research project on how to enhance and strengthen disaster response capacity in pubic health.