Charity aims to help orphans
Students are being urged to remember the less fortunate during this festive season by supporting Operation Santa Claus.
The annual charity fund-raising project is organised by the South China Morning Post and RTHK Radio 3.
Celebrating its 11th anniversary this year, the project aims to raise more than $1.8 million for the Ing Mei Orphanage Fund to help handicapped orphans.
The charity organisation works closely with the Hong Kong Society for Rehabilitation to raise funds for orphanages and care centres in the mainland and the SAR.
Funds raised will be used to buy special equipment and provide staff training.
Many orphans suffering from cerebral palsy, spina bifida and Downs' syndrome are staying in orphanages with inadequate care and rehabilitation facilities.
Nathalie Rahman, chairman of the Ing Mei Orphanage Fund, said special equipment would be the first step to help these children.
'Tables made from slats of wood will allow children who have difficulties moving about to pull themselves up by grabbing the slats.' She said setting up training centres in the mainland would help the training of care staff and improve the orphans' living conditions.
At present, the fund runs a daycare centre for handicapped children in Hong Kong and plans to open five new rehabilitation centres.
Ms Rahman said funds raised would be used to set up a simple acti vation programme for disabled children in six centres, with a starter kit providing the basic equipment, training and support needed.
The organisation also plans to improve staff training and get more people involved in helping the orphans.
'I was most happy to see children who had been staying in bed for years or who were left to wander about uncared for are now taking part in different activities every day,' Ms Rahman said.
Young Post is encouraging students and teachers to organise fund- raising activities in groups, classes, clubs, or on a scale which involves the entire school.
Young Post and Radio 3 are keen to report on your charity efforts.
'We want to get schools involved in any way they would like to,' said Zoe Lack, co-ordinator of Operation Santa Claus 1998 at Radio 3.
Last year, the project raised $3,220,507 to fund a hotline, a service for migrant children and a club for single-parent families, all for the Boys' and Girls' Clubs Association of Hong Kong.
To get involved, call Ms Lack or Ms Rahman on 2339-6418.
Students are welcome to send in details of their fund-raising plans and activities to: Thomas Chang, Education Co-ordinator, Young Post, 3/F, Morning Post Centre, 22 Dai Fat Street, Tai Po Industrial Estate, Tai Po, or fax them to 2660 5378.