[Sponsored] “Even though our student project is a very small seed, it will grow,” said Acacia Chan, Access to Justice Fellowship, the winning project of PILnet’s Law for Change Student Competition in 2019.

Students who want to sow their own seeds and make a positive social impact in Hong Kong by using the law now have the opportunity to incubate their own social change project.

But act soon: applications for the 2022 Student Competition must be submitted by 10 July.

Student participants will receive the following support:

  • Mentorship with lawyers and/or professionals from other disciplines.
  • Workshops on project design and implementation.
  • Networking opportunities with like-minded students.
  • Partnership opportunities with non-governmental organisations and social enterprises.

Winning teams will receive:

  • HK$10,000 to incubate their project (for the six finalist teams).
  • HK$50,000 to implement their project (for the three winning teams).

This six-month competition gives students the opportunity to apply their knowledge acquired in school to a social issue and turn their social change idea into a reality. They will be helped by mentors from international and local law firms throughout the process.

“I was inspired by the professionalism of the legal mentors… Throughout the proposal drafting phase, our mentors motivated us to be more grounded and learn about the needs of the homeless from their perspective.”

2020 winner Angel Lau

For the 2020 winner Homecoming, their mentors from international and local law firms and companies, played a crucial role in helping them structure their project.

Past student projects have addressed social justice issues by empowering tenants to use free mediation with their landlords, providing social and legal services to homeless people and elderly, informing ethnic minorities facing domestic violence of their rights, providing information to asylum seekers and refugees, and more. In the process of developing their projects, students have learnt to be more empathetic. As Jason Cheng of Homecoming explained, “You have to think about issues from their perspective, instead of bluntly asking them what their legal needs are. The focus should be on what your target group wants, instead of what you want to do.”

Students can join the Competition as teams or as individuals. The Competition is open to all students enrolled in higher diploma, associate degree, undergraduate, or postgraduate courses, both law and non-law, in Hong Kong. No former training or study in law is required. PILnet believes social change can only be achieved with knowledge and experience in various disciplines. Through this Student Competition, PILnet hopes to encourage the next generation to use the law for public interest.

Interested students can apply by submitting a letter of motivation by 10 July.

The 2022 Competition is made possible with the generous support of the ZeShan Foundation.

Hear from Jaime Wong from Access to Justice Fellowship why she joined the Competition:

Further details can be found on the PILnet website.

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