In 1986, a series of newspaper articles pointing to the alarming numbers of teen pregnancies in Hong Kong deeply moved Gary & Helen Stephens and Ranjan & Phyllis Marwah to found Mother’s Choice. Despite having young families and limited resources, they quickly rolled up their sleeves. With their heart for service, love for the city of Hong Kong, and support from many in the community, they opened the doors to Mother’s Choice in 1987. Their passion to provide loving, non-judgmental support to the many pregnant teenagers who had no one else to turn to quickly expanded to providing nurturing care to children without families, to be a voice for them to be in a family, and to support families across Hong Kong.
Over the years, we’ve learned a lot from working with the vulnerable girls and babies that we serve. Despite the challenges that they’re up against, we have hope for their future. We’ve learned that it is in “family” – a safe, loving, and permanent family – where their life stories can be changed. We’ve also learnt how powerful a community can be, and the many different ways that the community can engage with the issues that we face. We believe that it takes a village to raise a child, and that everyone has a role to play in serving the most vulnerable in our city.
Now, nearly three decades on, we are challenged to take a hard look how to serve more children, youth, and families, because the need for our services is only growing. We don’t just want to be there at a point of crisis for young girls and children, we want to see a community so supportive of pregnant teenagers and children without families that they open their own hearts to help, and organizations like Mother’s Choice are no longer needed.
For this to happen, we need to be a catalyst for positive social change. The issues we tackle are complex. From teen pregnancy to children living in institutional care – there is no way for a single entity to achieve large-scale change in these areas. It will take many individuals and organizations working together to bring lasting change. It will take all of us!
Our vision is bold, but we have hope that together, we can make it a reality.