Over the past three years, Jeff Rotmeyer and his troupe of 5,000 volunteers have helped provide shelter for more than 200 of Hong Kong’s homeless people.
Jeff Rotmeyer, founder of Impact HK.
A charity founded in 2017, whose mission is to provide shelter and care for homeless individuals in Hong Kong.
In 2006, the Canadian-born teacher moved to Hong Kong with his wife to teach English at a local primary school, but in 2014, a friend introduced Rotmeyer to the homeless community in Sham Shui Po. A walk through Tung Chau Street Park to feed people in need proved a catalyst for change.
Impact HK, born three years later, now has thousands of volunteers, while Rotmeyer has also launched the foundation Love 21, dedicated to enriching the lives of those with Down’s syndrome. His latest project, 1ofaKIND, is a second-hand clothing store in Yau Ma Tei, which employs the homeless population while encouraging sustainability.
In 2018, Rotmeyer received The One award, a humanitarian prize founded by David Harilela in recognition of selfless compassion. Rotmeyer and his team have raised close to US$2 million since the organisation’s inception, a figure that has been spent directly on housing, employing and feeding homeless people.
What role does kindness play in your mission?
We have the hashtag #KindnessMatters and it may sound a bit cheesy, but the truth is, it really does; especially today when a lot of people judge people in pain or criticise those in need, which has no positive outcome. Showing kindness to people helps bring the best out of them. As a charity, that’s what we do; we empower people, we earn their trust through repeated kindness and then, through friendship, we see how we can help them find a path towards health and happiness.
What has been your most rewarding experience with Impact HK?
There have been many, despite the fact that we are such a new charity. We’ve helped families off the streets who are now reunited with their children. We’ve helped individuals overcome heartbreaking situations like drug addiction and we’ve supported people who have completely lost hope. Now, we get to spend our days laughing together and it’s amazing to see them have hope for the future.