TOMA-Now x SAAHK | Street store in Hong Kong

Social inequality plagues even the most affluent metropolises. Hong Kong is no exception – the escalating cost of living, insufficient public housing, and gaps in pension and poverty provisions contribute to an ever-growing disparity between the classes.  Locally, the problems are being addressed by a diverse group of individuals and companies. Every kindness that comes from a position of empathy and understanding builds towards a more sustainable solution.

Co-creation in action

TOMA-Now, in collaboration with The Southern African Association of Hong Kong, is hosting a Street Store in aid of the homeless and vulnerable population of the Tai Kok Tsui area in Mong Kok, Hong Kong. The Street Store, a concept born in Cape Town, is a pop-up shop where the goods are free to those in need.  All clothing and other items donated are displayed, and individuals have the opportunity to shop for what they would like. By giving individuals who feel powerless in their daily lives the agency to make decisions about what to wear, we restore some dignity.
Janie Potgieter, TOMA-Now’s representative in Hong Kong, decided that this would be the most fruitful way to engage the various communities and stakeholders in the area.  The concept encourages active engagement with the beneficiaries of the event, as well as fostering relationships between charitable societies and foundations. “Instead of a faceless donation, we are asking everyone to engage, to participate.  Interaction facilitates empathy; and only if we foster a deep understanding of the needs of those who are disenfranchised can we really build towards a viable sustainable solution.”

The TOMA-Now x SAAHK Street Store will be held on the 9th of June at The Guest Room. The event is an exercise in co-creation, all stakeholders are actively involved in creating a space where the homeless population can be served.  The Southern African Association of Hong Kong facilitates Southern African community engagement in social, charitable and networking events. The venue is supplied by ImpactHK who run The Guestroom; a safe haven where vulnerable individuals can receive support towards embarking on a new life. The event is also supported by GRANA, who is sponsoring new t-shirts and jeans.

Stakeholder value chains

The event, with the associated clothing drive, will supply clothing that opens doors to the homeless community. Clean, fresh clothes allow individuals the freedom to interact with society without superficial judgement.  Interactions many take for granted – such as taking public transport, or going to a supermarket.

The global clothing supply chain does not come to an end at the point of purchase.  Consumers, in partnership with the clothing manufacturers that they choose to support, bear continued responsibility towards the item of clothing, up to its end of life. When clothing is reused, or repurposed, it closes the loop.

TOMA-Now focuses on value chain development in all forms.  A strong green economy is about far more than the bottom line. Value chains map experience and influence, and with this event we plan to contribute positively to each stakeholder’s journey.  We are building stronger chains that link the community, guarantee sustainable social impact, and foster global engagement.

Learn more about social impact value chains and TOMA-Now’s activity in global markets. We can help create a meaningful impact for your organisation: contact us at

About the Author

Janie Potgieter is a Leadership Development and Social Impact Driver. Janie is a longtime TOMA-Now collaborator and representative in Hong Kong.

She holds an MA in Linguistics and Language Acquisition from the University of Stellenbosch.