Stephanie Chan Sin-ying and Stephania Ling Kwan-wai of the Hong Kong Catholic Lay Missionary Association returned to Hong Kong for a break. After completing the stipulated days in quarantine, they were invited by different communities and schools to share about their work in Africa. They are scheduled to leave Hong Kong and carry on with service there at the end of this month.
Ling started her missionary work in Kolkata, India, in 2012. She was later commissioned to work in Ethopia, Africa, in January 2019, and then to Tonj, South Sudan, in December to serve students and women with the Salesian Sisters.
She returned to Hong Kong in mid-September. She told the Kung Kao Po that during this period she was responsible for collecting goods—a 40-foot standard container’s worth of clothes, shoes, English textbooks and daily necessities—for her missionary work in the impoverished nation. South Sudan, which is an inland nation, relies mostly on imports but all imported goods are very expensive.
She shared that virus prevention materials in the country are a luxury in this time of Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic. People use soaps to sanitise their hands because there is a shortage of hygiene facilities and clean water. She taught people how to make cloth facemasks.
She said her family worry for her safety and tell her to stay in Hong Kong every time she comes home. However, she has decided to return to South Sudan at the end of December to support the people there during the pandemic.
Chan was assigned to Cambodia in 2000. She was commissioned to serve in Kenya in 2004. In 2013, she returned to Hong Kong to complete a doctoral degree programme in education. After her graduation, she went on with her missionary work in Nairobi, Kenya, in 2018.
Chan is scheduled to go back to Kenya to teach at a school at the end of this year. She shared that her school suspended class beginning in March.
“The pandemic shows no sign of abating, but I still hope to return to Kenya to help the local people. I wish to meet my students after months of class suspension, help them adjust to school life and address their physical and spiritual needs,” she said.
She regularly gives assignments to her students, while the school gives out daily necessities every two to three weeks so that students in the slum district can be supported, even though donations for the school have been reduced during the pandemic.
Stephania Ling with children in South Sudan
Stephanie Chan with students in Kenya
(Adapted from Sunday Examiner, 18th December 2020)
(Last modified: 08-01-2021)