Continuous Learning and Growth

As the classic dialogue says in the well-known movie "Shao Lin Soccer” by Stephen Chow, "A man without dreams has no difference with a salted fish!” Many people share the same thought. A man without dreams is a "salted fish”, and a man to pursue dream is admired by many and called "winner” if succeeded. But what about those who were forced to give in on the midway?

Hair styling had been the interest of Sara who had worked in many salons to absorb experience and learn techniques in such area. She even considered becoming an outstanding hairstylist as her lifetime pursuit in a time, until she served in a large franchised hair salon. That was the first time Sara personally perceived the emotion distress in the industry and witnessed the fierce competition among colleagues with every possible tricks. Things were out of her expectation and she felt very uncomfortable at work. She was pushed out by colleagues and became emotionally stressful. The pressure and mental distress had greatly destroyed her confidence of becoming a good hairstylist, and finally forced her to quit the job.


Due to emotional distress, Sara could not continue working but have to live on CSSA. Taken the advice from social worker, Sara decided to seek professional help from hospital and was diagnosed depression. During hospitalization, Sara finally managed to settle down emotionally. Apart from participating in academic training under occupational therapy, she also read a number of books regarding depression, hoping to learn more of such disease. To help Sara resume normal life, the hospital had arranged Sara to visit several social enterprises, in which she met New Life Psychiatric Rehabilitation Association (New Life).

Having undergone a period of treatment, Sara got referred to Halfway House to readapt to social life. Coincidently, one of the social enterprises of New Life - the New Life Restaurant was recruiting trainee. Sara was greatly impressed by its environment and food in her visit. Thus, she decided to apply for transfer to the restaurant and receive training.

In New Life Restaurant, Sara received servicing and cashiering training. Owing to her good performance, she was employed as part-time Assistant with the opportunity to participate in out-of-site event project and become official employee to handle event orders in the office in the future. After the opening of the first cafe330 at the Prince of Wales Hospital, Sara was transferred to be cashier and clerk there.

In Sara’s opinion, social enterprise has given her a safe working atmosphere to help reconnect with the society. Even though hairstylist was her favorite job, the long working hours, low income and the damage of the dyeing material to the skin has rejected her to return to the industry. In addition, Sara loves to try new food, and the work at New Life Restaurant has provided her chances to taste a variety of cuisines, as well as the pleasure to enjoy the result of her own work.

Disturbed by depression on her way to pursue the dream of becoming a hairstylist, fate had opened up a new door for Sara. People she contacted after diagnosis varied largely with those she met before. It used to be only her colleagues or persons of the same industry. Yet, in the restaurant, she got to meet with students, teachers, medical staff, etc., This broadened her horizons. However, getting along with people had always been the weakness of Sara’s personality. She found that the instability of her emotion had made her more difficult to talk to people. Thanks to her supervisor who showed her the appropriate attitude of working and gave her recognition, Sara managed to show more of her advantages. Gradually, she felt more comfortable to be with other people and began to communicate more with colleagues and customers.

"Continuous learning and growth” is the motto of Sara. Sara loved to spend extra time to actively learn knowledge in all areas. She remembered when she was in hospital, she made a lot of effort to memorize the English name of different kinds of coffee. She also walked around the hospital to familiarize herself with the environment in short time, so that when take-away deliverers or patients got lost she might point at the right way. Besides, she not only advanced her study, but also applied for courses in mental health to open up her mind and gear up herself.

Being diagnosed is a turning point in Sara’s life, but the personality of perfectionism has not changed at all. Sara realized the insufficiency in English when having mental health courses that she lost the qualification to register some interested courses. So, she hopes to spend more time for further study in English and Mathematics and apply for courses she likes to join.

With new goal in life, Sara refills her confidence to the future and her effort to move forward and grow will be continued.