Our Story

It began with 3 high school seniors who wanted to make a difference in society before they graduated. Brian, Gary and Mercedes (Hong Kong International School ’07) were dismayed to learn that, just across the border from Hong Kong, there were girls who got accepted to a top high school but had to drop out because they cannot afford the tuition of $4000 HKD/year. Together with their mentor and teacher, Dr. Marty Schmidt, the students decided to start a project that would support these girls to attend high school. They partnered with the Concordia Welfare and Education Foundation (CWEF), a Hong Kong based non-profit organization, to create the Care for Learning and Community scholarship program.

In 2006-2007, Brian, Gary and Mercedes raised enough funds to support 100 girls to attend Xiang Shan High School, the best school in the district of Deqing in Northwestern Guangdong Province, China. In the following year, Jasmine, Jennifer, Daniel and Kai (HKIS ’08) took over and expanded the program. This started a trend: in subsequent years, a new batch of Hong Kong International School seniors would commit themselves to the project, allowing more and more girls to go to school.

In 2010, some of the past project leaders (who were then studying in university) teamed up with other friends to create EMBER, with the aim of ensuring the long-term sustainability of the scholarship program and to spread the message to a wider audience in Hong Kong. Other than fundraising, the EMBER executive board has focused its efforts on two areas: 1) expanding educational resources and opportunities for the female scholarship recipients in China, through introducing career and college counseling workshops as well as organizing annual summer leadership camps; and 2) mentoring and empowering Hong Kong high school students at our Ember campus branches to become socially-conscientious leaders.

EMBER accomplishments at-a-glance:
EMBER is now 11 years old. In the past 11 years, we have raised approximately $HK 3 million through student-led fundraising events such as variety shows, fashion shows, charity presentations, rockathon, etc. To date, there have been over 700 students who have benefited from the EMBER scholarship program.