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Who we are

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Project Spark is a community of volunteer teachers and refugee children working together to build hopeful futures.



Project Spark was founded in the spring of 2020 when an IT teacher at an international school, John Hendrickse, helped children and families at the Hong Kong Refugee Centre learn how to use donated computers for on-line learning during the Covid pandemic.  As John got to know these students, it became apparent that they also needed help with the fundamentals of math and English. 


A few months after recruiting a small group of fellow teachers to meet with these students on an informal basis, he was introduced to a former finance professional, Kathie Allderige,  who had experience in the non-profit education sector.  Together, they decided to organize Project Spark into a more formally managed effort.

Today, Project Spark is registered with the Hong Kong government as a "Company Limited by Guarantee" and has been granted section 88 charity tax exempt status  by Hong Kong's Inland Revenue Department.   

Project Spark is a non-profit organization without religious or political affiliation.



Our teachers have come from a broad range of international schools and backgrounds, including the ESF Schools, the Canadian Delia School, Nord Anglia, Chinese International School (CIS), Wycombe Abbey, the Japanese International School, International Schools Foundation (ISF), the Victoria Shanghai Academy, and the Hong Kong International School (HKIS). Many have taught in the Peace Corps, Teach America, Teach First, and other programmes focusing on underprivileged student populations. 

All our teachers are registered with the Hong Kong Education Bureau, hold an official teaching certificate, have been trained in child safeguarding and have undergone a sexual conviction record (SRC) check.

All come with a passion for teaching, a love of children, and professional skills honed by a genuine desire to make a difference in the world.   During the 2021/22 school year, 34 volunteer teachers actively taught in the Project Spark community. We continue to actively recruit new teachers so that we will have the capability to grow our student roster.



Our students range in age from five to 17.  Many, but not all, go to English-medium government schools and many were born in Hong Kong.  Their families come from Africa, the Middle East, and South Asia and all came to Hong Kong seeking protection from political, religious, gender or cultural persecution in their home country.  Legally, they hold the status of asylum-seeker or refugee and, thus, do not have the rights or privileges of a Hong Kong resident.  

Our students come to us as referrals from the professional caseworkers that are assigned to their families at NGOs serving the refugee population in Hong Kong (e.g., Christian Action's Refugee CentreHong Kong Justice Centre), Branches of Hope ROAD Programme) .   Project Spark works collaboratively with these NGOs to monitor the students' holistic development.

All our students are cheerful, eager learners who make our teachers smile each time they meet.  During the 2021/22 school year, 32 students belonged to the Project Spark community.  We hope to reach the same number of students during the 2022/23 school year.


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