Better grades with a confidence boost

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 10 August, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 10 August, 2006, 12:00am

A group of underprivileged children have graduated from a programme that aims to enhance their self-esteem, broaden their horizons and improve their relationship with their parents.

One hundred children from low-income families took part in Caltex Project Chance, which was launched last year.

The programme is jointly organised by the Boys' and Girls' Club Association of Hong Kong (BGCA) and Chevron Hong Kong.

The first batch of graduates received their certificates at Ocean Park on Tuesday.

The project, subsidised by the government's 'Partnership Fund for the Disadvantaged', offers educational and emotional support for children living in difficult conditions.

According to statistics, about 289,000 children in Hong Kong lack proper facilities for learning and opportunities to help them get ahead in life.

Project supervisor Wong Kwai-yau, of the BGCA, said they wanted to help children in three districts: Tuen Mun, Tai Wai and Fanling. A survey revealed that these areas have some of the highest number of poor families, ranking third, fifth and eighth, respectively, Mr Wong said.

'The number one district [in the survey] was Shamshuipo, but since there are numerous on-going community projects there, we decided to focus on these three districts,' he added.

He said the applications for the next programme far exceeded the number of places that were available.

'The programme is very popular among parents and there is a long waiting list. We interview each child to see if they are suitable for the project,' Mr Wong said.

'And we have to find out about the family's income and social welfare status, to see if they are eligible.'

Most of the students agreed that their grades had improved after taking part in the programme.

'I have been able to make more friends, because I am more confident now,' said a student who preferred to remain anonymous.

'My English results have improved because volunteers have been teaching me. Before, my grades suffered because my parents had to go to work and had no time for me,' she said.