As part of a project team entitled Barrier-free School, four students from Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU), together with two students from The University of Hong Kong (HKU) recently won the championship, the Best Social Mission and the Best Presentation Award at the Finals of the 2013 Hong Kong Social Enterprise Challenge (HKSEC) for their business proposal of a barrier-free school which provides training to people with disabilities via e-learning platforms. The team was the first team to win three awards since the Challenge was launched seven years ago. They will be granted a total of HK$300,000 to implement the winning plan.
Li Yuanxi (PhD in Computer Science, HKBU), Chan Sheung-wai (PhD in Computer Science, HKBU), Dr. Zou Waiwen (Computer Science alumnus, HKBU), Chen Lijun (Master in Chinese Medicine, HKBU), Cheung Wing-yin (BA in HKU) and Tsao Wen Yi (Master in Computer Science, HKU) formed a team named Barrier-free School. They proposed a three-in-one service entitled “Training + Job Matching + Career Support” which provided people with disabilities in Hong Kong with barrier-free courses, job coaching as well as an information technology promotion ambassador scheme. Their mission was to assist people in need in e-learning, enriching their self-confidence and quality of living, thereby making Hong Kong an inclusive science and technology hub.
Team leader Li Yuanxi said, “We hope that information technology can bring change and benefits to people with disabilities. We also hope to share the knowledge we gained with underprivileged people in Hong Kong.” The team expressed their gratitude to their project supervisor Professor Liu Jiming, Chair Professor of the Department of Computer Science of HKBU, other advisors at HKBU including Professor Clement Leung, Professor; Professor Yuen Pong-chi, Head; and Dr. Alfredo Milani, visiting scholar of the Department of Computer Science; Dr. Mark Li, Senior Lecturer of the Department of Social Work; Mr. Li Haipeng, University Librarian, and scholars from The University of Hong Kong.
The e-learning platform enables people with disabilities to gain skills in and use information technology in order to find a job which would help improve their standard of living. The team found that there are a lot of software and hardware learning resources available which were yet to be widely used in the community. The team made use of existing resources to offer training to people with disabilities, allowing the latter to gain knowledge.
Among the 202 teams enrolled for the Challenge this year, 24 teams were selected for the semi-final. Only six teams moved on to the Final.
The Hong Kong Social Enterprise Challenge is an inter-collegiate business plan competition to help students turn creative business ideas into meaningful and sustainable ventures that promote social good. During the campaign, participants had to undertake a series of seminars, creativity and business training workshops, and interaction with business professionals to develop their own social venture by integrating commercial operations into social needs.
Details on the team’s project can be found at: http://www.bfschool.hk.
(Front row, from left) Miss Li Yuanxi, Miss Chen Lijun, Mr. Chan Sheung-wai and Miss Cheung Wing-yin, (back row, from left) Mr. Tsao Wen Yi and Dr. Zou Waiwen, win the championship, the Best Social Mission and the Best Presentation Award in the competition
The e-learning systems designed by Barrier-free School can be used on various platforms