Gillian Wong, a petite, semiretired accountant in her sixties, leads the way into the dilapidated buildings, her eyes struggling to adjust to the dim light. Yan, a kindergarten teacher, follows, her bag weighed down by a 5-liter bottle of alcohol rub. The last member, Keith Tse, a construction worker on leave due to a leg injury, comes late but well-prepared, carrying a portable fan in one hand and a torch on his head. Both soon come in useful as the trio trudge up the stuffy, narrow stairways of the old tong lau -- tenement buildings -- of Sham Shui Po in Hong Kong.
Armed with a glue gun, bottles and posters, the volunteers are on a mission. They are among 80 teams spread out across all 18 districts of Hong Kong to install hand sanitizer dispensers at tenement buildings. These were built before the 1970s and as early as the 19th century, and are often poorly managed and in squalid condition.