Spread Christmas cheer
DURING this time of sharing and caring, spare a thought - and some of your pocket money - for the children in China who are suffering from polio.
A special concert to raise funds to help fight polio in China will be held at the Aberdeen Stadium next Saturday. The money you pay for your ticket will be used to help vaccinate mainland children against the disease.
China is poised on the brink of eradicating polio.
Over 3,000 cases were reported in the mainland in 1990, but today, China - with the assistance of UNICEF - has indicated it could totally eradicate polio by the end of next year . . . with some help from you.
The chairman of the Hong Kong Committee for UNICEF, Dr Robert Fung, said the organisation is currently working with the Chinese Ministry of Public Health on the polio eradication project in China.
'To achieve the goal of total polio eradication, we have to take practical action by raising more funds for UNICEF to purchase polio vaccines to immunise more infants in China,' Dr Fung said.
The Hong Kong Committee recently launched a fund-raising campaign - 'Aiming for Zero' - to assist China in its fight against the disease.
The objectives of the campaign are to arouse public awareness of the polio situation in China as well as to raise funds to continue the vaccination drive.
Two years ago, the Hong Kong Committee took on the challenge of raising $24 million for this worthy cause. So far, they have raised an impressive $18 million.
Helping them make up the missing $6 million is where you come into the picture.
'We are trying to encourage Hong Kong people to make a donation by going to the special charity concert we have organised for this campaign,' said Dr Fung.
The $100 you pay for your ticket will give UNICEF enough money to buy 50 doses of the highly effective oral polio vaccine.
Dr Fung said this contribution would not only help UNICEF achieve its dream of eradicating polio in China, but throughout the world.
He said UNICEF kept in touch with local schools through school visits, talks and exhibitions.
The organisation uses these visits to keep local youngsters informed about the work UNICEF carries out.
Heart-throb Leon Lai, who is also UNICEF's Special Representative for Youth, has added his voice to the anti-polio drive by urging his fans to help less-fortunate youths in China.
Here is his message: 'Contributions from people like you will allow UNICEF to continue its lifesaving programmes and improve the lives of Chinese children.' The Canto-pop star will be on stage at the special concert, ready to dazzle the audience with his song and dance routine.
Lai has been involved for some time in working for the well-being of children in China.
'As a Chinese, I feel really proud to be helping children on the mainland have a healthy childhood. That is the most precious thing, the growth of a child.' Tickets for the charity bash - organised with the support of Commercial Radio 1 and other public and private organisations - are currently on sale at Urbtix.