Putting youth in touch with nature

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 02 November, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 02 November, 2010, 12:00am

Underprivileged children in Tin Shui Wai and Yuen Long will have a chance to get close to nature, thanks to WWF Hong Kong and Operation Santa Claus (OSC).

WWF is planning a trip to the Mai Po Nature Reserve for the children, with funding from OSC.

OSC is an annual charity event co-founded by the South China Morning Post and RTHK in 1988. It raises money from corporations and schools to fund various charities in the city.

Money from the OSC goes to the WWF's Wetlander-Wetland Management Ambassador Programme for Children from Small Group Homes to learn from nature and to upgrade facilities in Mai Po.

Mai Po centre manager Mathew Cheng Ting-kee says around 200 children living in small group homes will benefit from the programme.

'These children are not able to live with their families and live in small group homes in Tin Shui Wai and Yuen Long,' Cheng says.

'Some of them are victims of domestic violence. There are also children whose parents are serving time in jail or divorced ... We have a three-day tour for them and on the last day we will invite family members of the children to join in. It is a great chance for the children and families to bond.'

WWF plans to employ around 15 university students as tour guides to take care of the children and teach them about nature. Part of the funding will also go to improving facilities such as bird hides and lily pond platforms at Mai Po.

'At Mai Po we have a lot of experience in providing educational programmes for primary and secondary school students. We hope to bring these resources to less privileged children and let them know we care about them,' Cheng says.

OSC will be launched officially on November 16.

Get involved

Set up school fund-raising events.

Think about creative ways to raise funds, such as walkathons or singathons.

Get your friends to participate in the HK$5-per-student campaign.

Don't forget to write and tell us what your school is doing.

Donate by credit card or cheque. Donate by ATM or at any HSBC branches: a/c number 502-676299-001 for SCMP Charities Ltd - Operation Santa Claus. Official receipts will be issued upon request for donations of HK$100 or more. See osc.scmp.com for further details.