Po Leung Kuk
The Po Leung Kuk (Chinese: 保良局), founded as the Society for the Protection of Women and Children, is a charitable organisation in Hong Kong that provides support for orphaned children, education and other services.
In the late 19th century, abduction and trafficking of women and children were widespread in Hong Kong, under the mui tsai system. On 8 November 1878, a group of local Chinese presented a petition to the Governor of Hong Kong, John Pope Hennessy to set up Po Leung Kuk to rescue the kidnapped victims and the society was officially opened in August 1882.
The stated objective of the Kuk, as it is informally known, is to care for the young and protect the innocent. In the early days, it was primarily engaged in suppressing abduction of women and children and providing shelters and education for such victims. There were some difficulties with the colonial government, as a result of cultural differences, but the overall intention of improving the lot of unfortunates was earnestly pursued. However, it has been suggested that the arrangements the Kuk provided had the convenient effect of maintaining a supply of servants and potential concubines for the wealthy Chinese families of Hong Kong, in a "peculiarly Chinese form of patriarchy".
Over the following century, Po Leung Kuk gradually evolved into a diversified organisation in line with the social and economic changes over time.
The Kuk currently runs more than 200 units throughout the SAR, providing welfare, educational, cultural and recreational services.
- "The Founding of Po Leung Kuk".
- A Concise History of Hong Kong, by John Mark Carroll, 2007. pp60-61
- The Protection of Women in 19th Century Hong Kong, Elizabeth Sinn, p164
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