Rehabilitation Through the Arts
It’s called “Happy Market” and it’s a social enterprise from Fu Hong Society of Macau, a non-profit organisation founded by a group of volunteers in 2003. It aims to provide people with mild to moderate intellectual disabilities with occupation skills development and training, as well as employment services, with a view to help them realize their potential and integrate into the society.
With its doors opened since the middle of the year, “Happy Market” collects and restores first and second hand goods for reselling and donating to the underprivileged. It also transforms discarded materials into creative products to promote recycling.
The social enterprise aims to provide employment opportunities for disadvantaged groups and people with disabilities, and also serves as a platform to showcase and sell handmade artwork by Fu Hong members. “When I retired from the Government I knew there was something lacking for people when they finished school, so two friends and I decided to launch Fu Hong Society. We believe in rehabilitation by arts so I began a new project where they learn music, dancing, drawing and different kinds of arts”, said Fátima dos Santos Ferreira, President of General Assembly of Fu Hong Society.
Located in Travessa da Areia Preta, “Happy Market” currently has two people with no disabilities, two disabled working full day and four disabled working part-time, but they hope to increase this number in the near future. “Most of our disabled can’t do a multitask job, but they can do any kind of jobs under our supervision, so if we have a social enterprise we can help them work. We also do a service for the mental handicap from the hospital and people with schizophrenia or depression. When they come out from the hospital they get in contact with us to see if there is any kind of service we can provide for them. The job can be very flexible, they can work only two or four hours a day, according to their rehabilitation stage”, said Jennifer Chau.
According to the Director of Fu Hong Society, even though social enterprises are a business, they aren’t looking to make money. “We just want to break even. We want to make the social enterprise to meet the economic aims and at the same time solve social problems. We try to encourage people to donate second hand things, many hotels donate a lot of blankets to us that we can clean and donate back”.
In terms of revenues, “Happy Market” has been growing since opening, but it’s still far from the numbers it needs. “We started in July and our gross profit was around MOP10,000, then, in the second month, it was about MOP20,000. Every month I find out that we have MOP10,000 upward since we opened. But if we want to break even we need to reach MOP60,000 each month”, said Jennifer Chau.
The location of “Happy Market” is an issue because people “have some difficulties to find it”, according to the President of General Assembly of Fu Hong Society, but Fátima dos Santos Ferreira is quite hopeful on the success of the centre, aiming to help people with disabilities show their artistic talents to the community.