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Operation Santa Claus

Circus thrills out of Africa strike a festive vibe for Hong Kong youngsters

Sino Group volunteers and children on mentorship programme celebrate their journey together

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 11 December, 2016, 4:40pm
UPDATED : Monday, 12 December, 2016, 5:26pm

Sino Group put together a circus playground in Olympian City mall to bring joy to underprivileged children in Tai Kok Tsui as Christmas draws near.

Volunteers took 20 children age seven to 10 to its Madagascar-themed circus park on Saturday as the property company wrapped up its Sino Children Mentorship Programme, which aims at enriching the extracurricular lives of primary school pupils.

Sino Group has supported Operation Santa Claus, the annual fundraiser jointly organised by the South China Morning Post and RTHK, since 2005.

On almost every weekend for the past eight months, Sino Group employees have volunteered to accompany children to various fun and educational events across the city. Nikki Ng Mien-hua, Sino Group general manager, said it was touching to see staff so committed to helping children.

She felt the Madagascar-themed circus playground not only suited the festive vibe of the holiday season but embodied the spirit of the mentorship programme.

“The theme is about the Madagascar journey. The Madagascar journey is about perseverance, friendship, always staying positive in any sort of situation.”

Wong Ka-kin, 10, said she loved being part of the programme as she not only got to engage in fun activities, she had made many friends, especially her mentor from Sino Group.

“I am very happy to get to see my mentor every weekend for the past months,” she said. “I love how we went to the elderly home together. We have also learned to make soap and transplant plants together.”

She enjoyed the excitement of the Madagascar-themed circus playground, which featured an array of quirky carnival games like the knife-throwing act, in which players threw three foam knives at rotating targets.

“I threw three knives,” she said. “And they all hit the target.”

Then there was the fire loop jump, which challenged players to jump over foam loops, then walk across a balance beam while holding a spinning plate on a stick.

In uphill and down dale, players tackled a rock-climbing wall with cartoon characters projected on it.

The playground in Olympian City will be available for public visits until the beginning of January. At weekends it will host talent shows for children, with HK$300 donated to Operation Santa Claus for each performer who treads the boards.