Cover Avisha Harilela, Cissy Wang, Donnie Yen and David Harilela (Photo: Supplied)

Donnie Yen, Purviz Shroff and Harry Banga were among the guests at the event, which honours the world’s unsung heroes

When?: November 17, 2022

Where?: The Holiday Inn Golden Mile

Who?: David Harilela, Harry Banga, Sham Chellaram, Aron Harilela, Moses Tsang and Donnie Yen

Here's what you missed:

The Holiday Inn Golden Mile was filled with star power on November 17 for the return of The One Humanitarian Awards, drawing in prominent leaders and philanthropists in the city like Legislative Council president Andrew Leung Kwan-yuen; actor Donnie Yen, who is the ambassador for the awards; and Ruttonjee Estates managing director Purviz Shroff.

The awards, which returned after a three-year hiatus, was co-founded in 2012 by David Harilela and the Hong Kong chapter of the global humanitarian service organisation Rotary International. It was created with the goal of empowering and rewarding individuals who dedicate their lives to serving others in need. The evening saw HK$2.5 million awarded to six humanitarians from Hong Kong, Nepal and Thailand. These included Avis Rideout, a missionary based in Thailand who works with HIV-infected and abandoned children; and Kitty Poon, founder of the Hong Kong-based charity LoveXpress Foundation, which serves the special needs community. The cash prizes will go towards their work and humanitarian efforts.

In a speech, Leung said, “You have all worked tirelessly and selflessly to help those who have been forgotten by their families, those less fortunate, and those who are challenged by medical conditions. Though the finalists may come from different backgrounds, they share the same values: putting others before themselves and helping those in need, day in and day out. Covid-19 has impacted our lives over the last three years, and tonight’s event is a timely reminder of the importance of kindness, care and compassion in a society. Your stories tell us there is always hope.”

Harilela gave a touching speech that left not a dry eye in the audience. “It’s been three years since I’ve seen you all, and I am so happy to be with you this evening,” he said. “I don’t have wings, but I have a lot of angels behind me who have never stopped supporting me. “I want to share a story with you,” he continued. “A friend of mine was suffering from cancer and diabetes. It was 5am and his sugar levels fell dangerously low. His wife was trying everything in her power to prevent him from going into a coma. He was down, depressed and ready to give up on life. At that very moment, he got a WhatsApp from a close friend of his. The friend had sent a video about how life is a precious gift from god. The man told his friend that it wasn’t for his support, he wouldn’t be the successful entrepreneur he is today.”

“The man with cancer in the story is me,” he said. “His [the friend’s] words gave me strength. This is where The One heroes step in. They show up for those who have nobody and feel alone. I want to thank you all for never leaving me to walk alone.”

Live performances by singing duo Impulz, and speeches by guests including Donnie Yen kept spirits lifted, but above all, motivated the community to continue searching and honouring the unsung heroes that walk among us.

© 2022 Tatler Asia Limited. All rights reserved.