The Zubin Foundation, a registered charity dedicated to improving the lives of Hong Kong’s marginalised ethnic minorities, held a ribbon-cutting ceremony today to mark the opening of Zubin Family Centre.

Located in the Austin MTR Station, the centre is the first facility in Hong Kong to provide ethnic minority children with special education needs with counselling services in Nepali, Hindi, Urdu and English.

The ceremony was officiated by Chris Sun, Secretary for Labour and Welfare; Shalini Mahtani, Founder and CEO of The Zubin Foundation; Michael Kwok, East Asia Region Chair of Arup; Tim Threlkeld, Managing Director of TCG Construction; David Wallis, Managing Director, Institutional Equity Division and Chair of the Hong Kong Philanthropy Committee of Morgan Stanley; Jeny Yeung, Hong Kong Transport Services Director of MTR; Purviz Shroff, Founder of Rusy and Purviz Shroff Charitable Foundation; Rob Wall, Managing Director of JEB Group; and Ravi Gidumal, Co-founder and Board Chair of The Zubin Foundation.

In Hong Kong, one-third of all ethnic minority children live in poverty. They are mostly Indians, Pakistanis and Nepalis who live in Hong Kong, most born and raised locally.  In the 2020/21 school year, the number of diagnosed non-Chinese speaking students with special educational needs in public schools (including aided special schools and ordinary primary and secondary schools) was 1,260.  The centre has been established to help change this reality.

The centre, located near the Yau Tsim Mong district where most of the local ethnic minority resides, provides a convenient location for children and families in the neighbourhood as well as those living in the north New Territories.

The centre was designed as a pro-bono project by global sustainable development consultant Arup, who contributed its expertise in architecture design, construction project management, MEP, fire and acoustic engineering, as well as bringing in TCG Construction and JEB Group to construct the centre and provide materials and office supplies for free.

The centre features a bright shop front in yellow with portraits of smiley faces, offering a warm welcome to visitors.  The layout design has put the limited space to the best use, catering for multiple functions such as children’s activities, group meetings and individual counselling. As the centre is part of the station, all the design and material use need to fulfil MTR’s technical requirements on fire engineering and safety.

Zubin’s Family Centre is a result of NGO-private partnership and we are incredibly grateful to Arup for using their skills for social inclusion. The Centre is in the Yau Tsim Mong district which houses 9% of Hong Kong’s ethnic minority community. We are grateful for MTR to offer Zubin’s Family Centre at nominal rent in this great location. It will provide free counselling to ethnic minority children and therapies for children with ADHD and Autism in the community. It will also provide a safe space for ethnic minority women to learn skills and network. 

Shalini Mahtani

Founder and CEO of The Zubin Foundation