Gifts make a joyful noise at school for visually impaired
Macquarie Group staff bring plenty of surprises to school for visually impaired, presenting pupils with tactile toys they can interact with
The Ebenezer School and Home for the Visually Impaired had a few visitors before Christmas - and they came bearing gifts.
About a dozen staff from financial services provider Macquarie, and Santa Claus, visited the youngsters at an early Christmas party on December 20. Dart guns, musical instruments, pottery kits, helicopters, lightsabers, Barbie dolls and more were given out and unwrapped to excited chatter, as the children pressed buttons that set off squeaks, alarms and battle noises. "We tried to get things that were very tactile," said Susan Clear, manager of the Macquarie Group Foundation Asia, the charitable arm of the Macquarie Group.
The group played games and got to know about 60 pupils gathered in the school's brightly lit assembly hall.
"You feel sad but happy, knowing that they're happier today with a nice toy. That's what the firm cares about," said Jeffrey Shiu, managing director and the head of equity for Hong Kong and China. Shiu has played Santa for six years but relinquished the role to a colleague this year. Instead, he played cheerleader to the new Santa, giving Saint Nick an introduction and a warm welcome.
"They've really given thought to the children's needs," principal Remy Wong Kwan-bo said. "You can see they've put their hearts into these well thought out Christmas gifts."
And their generosity went beyond presents, with the company's staff raising just under HK$100,000 for the school.
Macquarie Group is a major donor to Operation Santa Claus, a holiday charity appeal jointly organised by the South China Morning Post and RTHK. The group gave HK$150,000 to help 18 designated charities, of which the school is one.
The funds will help the school provide therapeutic services to students with visual impairment and other disabilities to correct some of their developmental defects and to increase their sense of well-being.
"Raising money was the easy part. It was buying the toys that was the challenge," Shiu said. "I almost had to make a spreadsheet."
The company's charitable actions are driven by staff and through the Macquarie Group Foundation. This is the eighth year that Macquarie has raised funds for Operation Santa.
HOW YOU CAN GIVE
- Donate online by credit card at osc.scmp.com
- Donate at an ATM or at any HSBC branch (account no: 502-676299-001 for SCMP Charities Ltd - Operation Santa Claus)
- Send a cheque payable to "SCMP Charities Ltd - Operation Santa Claus". Mail it to: Operation Santa Claus, Morning Post Centre, 22 Dai Fat Street, Tai Po Industrial Estate, New Territories
- Donations of HK$100 or more are tax-deductible. If you require a tax receipt, please send the completed donation form and original bank receipt, with your name, address and telephone number, to the previously mentioned address. Please call 2680 8159 or e-mail email@example.com with any inquiries, or visit us online at osc.scmp.com