Brief History
The YWCA was first established in London in 1855 (the era of Industrial Revolution in Europe), by Lady Kinnaird and Ms. Emma Robarts. Lady Kinnaird provided homes for young ladies who left their hometowns to work in factories or follow Florence Nightingale to serve in battlefields, while Ms. Robarts gathered women to pray and study the bible, forming the Prayer Fellowship. The Prayer Fellowship and the homes were later combined and formed the Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA). As many countries set up YWCAs after England, the World YWCA merged in 1894 in Geneva, Switzerland (with England, the United States, Norway and Sweden as the first four affiliated countries). Today, YWCAs are established in over a hundred countries across the globe.
In 1890, Mrs. Stewart, the mother of Dr. Leighton Stewart who was the founder of the Yenching University and had been an American Ambassador to China, founded the YWCA of China, first started as a YWCA student association in Hung Tao School in Hanzhou. The first city YWCA - Shanghai YWCA was then set up in 1908, followed by many other cities Associations. Hong Kong became the seventh city to have her own YWCA. In 1923, the first national convention of China YWCA took place in Hanzhou, whereby the National Committee of YWCAs of China was formally established. Today, the National Committee is located in Shanghai. And since 1980, city YWCAs have been gradually reactivated in ten mainland cities, namely Shanghai, Guangzhou, Tianjin, Chengdu, Beijing, Nanjing, Hanzhou, Wuhan, Xiamen and Xian.
The Hong Kong YWCA was founded to meet social needs. During the early 20th century, many Chinese young girls travelled via Hong Kong on their way to study abroad. Ms. Fok Hing Tong, an enthusiastic Christian, received them in Hong Kong with hospitality. Later, Ms. Fok, together with another three founders, Ms. Wu So Ching, Ms. Fok Shui Yue and Ms. Ng Bik Yuen, set up Hong Kong YWCA in 1920, with 81 founding members and 12 founding Board Members. Our earliest projects included leadership training for women in secondary schools, evening schools for working women, and parenting skills for new mothers. We then further developed our own premises, hotels and a wide variety of social services.
With our heartiest thanks to the Lord's grace, the Association has bloomed to a multi-service organization, with 68 service units spreading over the territory, to serve targets ranging from infants to senior people of over 50 nationalities.

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