People Stories

Talent & Sector Development

Strong grass endures mighty winds

Justin Jacob Bedana: “I am sure it gets tougher, but we get stronger too.”

For many ethnic minority residents in Hong Kong, it can be harder than ever to pursue their dreams under language barriers and lack of resources. Growing up in a single-parent family, Justin has relied on his Filipina mother’s unstable income from singing for a living. Yet the tough family conditions have never stopped him from dreaming big. Achieving excellent results in secondary school, he also took up leadership roles proactively.

“My mother has a great influence on me” Justin says. “You can imagine how hard it is for a single mother just to handle childcare and work at the same time. She also works hard to fight for a better working environment for local musicians, especially during the epidemic when their whole livelihoods were at stake.” He dreams of inheriting his mother's helpful spirit and serving society.

The epidemic of the century not only affected the city’s live musicians, it also destroyed Justin's precious time in secondary school. School activities were suspended and he was unable to show leadership in club positions. Some online classes were conducted in Cantonese which made Justin who only speaks a little Cantonese find it difficult to keep up with progress, and the stress of learning doubled. Fortunately, his gloom was only a temporary blow. He quickly recovered and sought help from his teachers. By making his best efforts, he was admitted to his dream university and awarded a Jockey Club Scholarship. He vowed to change his destiny through knowledge.

“This Scholarship gives me a lot of security and freedom” Justin enthuses, explaining that he does not have to worry about family finances for the time being, and can devote himself to volunteer services and community internship opportunities. By studying hard whilst also working on community issues, he can move towards his dream step by step. “There are still many disadvantaged groups in Hong Kong who are struggling in poverty and need various forms of support and this means a lot to me” he notes.

Did you know?

Established in 1998, The Hong Kong Jockey Club Scholarships are one of the Club’s programmes to nurture local talent. To date, some HK$870 million in scholarships have been approved, supporting more than 1,000 students. Apart from undergraduate students, the scheme was expanded in 2015 to include students with special educational needs and those in vocational education. It also supports postgraduate students to pursue further studies at top notch universities in the world. The Club has extended the Scholarships to two further schemes in 2023 to support outstanding students with top scores in the public examinations and students who have achieved excellence while demonstrating resilience and strength of mind to overcome adversities in life to pursue their studies in Hong Kong. The Club also provides JC Scholars with opportunities for further learning, personal development and social service.

Information updated to Nov 2023