In 1986, our founders read a series of newspaper articles pointing to the alarming numbers of teen pregnancies in Hong Kong. They were shocked to read reports that girls as young as 13 were going through unsafe terminations of pregnancy in as late as their ninth month. As they dug deeper into the issue, they found that most of these girls were facing the biggest crisis of their lives, completely alone.

With support from many in the community, our founders opened up the doors to Mother’s Choice in 1987. Instead of rejecting or punishing pregnant teenagers, they were determined to welcome girls into a home where they felt valued and accepted, where they would be given care, safety, support, and hope for their future.

Our passion to welcome and love the many pregnant teenagers who had no one to turn to quickly grew, and we began to be a voice for all children without families. Today, we are more determined than ever to join hands with our community to give hope and change the life stories of children, youth, and families in crisis across our city.

We asked our four co-founders to share their thoughts from 30 years ago, when the doors of Mother’s Choice were first opened to girls and babies in need.

Gary Stephens

“As a father, I was devastated for the young girls we had read about in the newspaper who were facing a crisis pregnancy alone. We hoped that somehow there would be people – professional, compassionate people, who would step forward to help them. We were busy with our own work, and we didn’t think we were the ones to help, so we didn’t do anything. That is, until we told our friend, Ranjan about the articles, and he challenged us: “So what are you going to do about it?”

Helen Stephens

“The idea of supporting girls facing a crisis pregnancy really impacted me. Years before, in the early 1970s, my teenage sister faced a crisis pregnancy, and our whole family kept it a secret. She was sent away, and she gave birth to a healthy baby girl whom she never held. Though the family had decided on this course of action with the best of intentions, she was never able to recover from the trauma, from sudden loss of innocence, from a total loss of former self. I knew that girls in Hong Kong faced the same scrutiny and judgement, and I felt led to support them.”

Phyllis Marwah

“Everyone deserves a second chance, and every pregnant girl and every child deserves to have a safe, loving, and permanent family. This is what we’ve been working towards for 30 years, and it’s a message we need to pass down to our children. We won’t stop until every child in Hong Kong has a loving family.”

Ranjan Marwah

“We wanted give more than just shelter, we wanted girls to experience love and receive help to face the many choices that lay before them. In 30 years, the biggest miracle that we have seen at Mother’s Choice is the change in attitude of our community towards our girls and their babies. At the start, many people asked why I would want to help “those naughty girls”. Some of those same people are now our biggest supporters, and they value young women and children so differently. That gives me great hope for Hong Kong.”

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