Diverse Cultural Services
The English Speaking Members Department:
History & Development
Since its inception, the HKYWCA has been keen on providing services for expatriate women living in Hong Kong. In the wake of the World War II, a significant number of expatriate women and their businessmen husband immigrated to Hong Kong. Being away from home, many were struggling to adapt to the new and unfamiliar surroundings. Dr. Ellen Li, former Honorary President of the HKYWCA, and an American staff member felt that as an international women’s organization, the HKYWCA should help them adjust to the new environment. It is against this backdrop that in 1946 the English Speaking Members Department was established to cater for different needs of society.
The English Speaking Members Department has organized numerous cultural exchange activities together with other departments of HKYWCA. Members conducted English Language classes for the Women Affairs Department, and the Women Affairs Department in turn conducted Chinese cooking classes for English speaking members. An East-West Discussion Group met weekly to share information about Hong Kong with people of different nationalities, in the hope that newcomers to Hong Kong would soon become adapted to their new life in the city.
The Department’s best known course is the ‘At Home’ programme. Since 1976 when it was launched, ‘At Home’ has allowed newcomers of different nationalities to meet new friends and to learn more about the lifestyle, food and local attractions of Hong Kong. Up till today, over 300 ‘At Home’ courses have been conducted to over 4,000 participants.
The English Speaking Members Department is still vibrant and active in offering different courses year-round (except winter) for expatriate members. The Department has about 1,300 members; most of them are from Britain, the United States and Australia. The rest are from 50 other countries and regions.

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