Lotta and a remarkable untold story from Hong Kong

According to Clyde Sanger’s biography of Lotta Hitschmanova, she initiated USC Canada programs in Hong Kong from 1952 to 1980. There must be hundreds if not thousands of stories that could be told. Here is one of them, as related by two Hong Kong twins who still remember Lotta after all these years, Lan Chun and Mui Chun.

“In 1959, Dr. Lotta Hitschmanova (upper image, first from left), representative of the Unitarian Service Committee of Canada paid a visit to Po Leung Kuk (the Society for the Protection of Women and Children) and introduced the concept of overseas sponsorship to the Hong Kong charity.

“The sponsorship was supported by Canadian residents who contributed 7 USD per month to sponsor one child in Po Leung Kuk. The donation would then subsidize the daily expenses of the child, including clothing, education and medical access. Meanwhile, sponsors and the children would maintain contact through exchange of letters, and on some occasions, sponsors would pay a personal visit to the child.

“For years, Dr. Hitschmanova maintained close ties with the Kuk and paid regular visits to its children. On the occasion of festive celebrations, Dr. Hitschmanova would bring gifts to our children, as shown in the photograph at the bottom.”

Coquitlam resident Eileen Cassidy (1918-2017) answered Lotta’s call so many decades ago and became the foster mom of the twins, with whom she developed a special relationship.

Sincere thanks to Lan Chun and Mui Chun for sharing this remarkable story across the sea and across the decades, and thanks to wonderful Canadians like Eileen Cassidy who supported Lotta’s vision to build bridges between peoples around the world.

David Rain

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