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Operation Santa Claus

KPMG sets off on treasure hunt to find out more about Hong Kong charities

Teams from accounting giant visit local NGOs as part of its fundraising campaign for Operation Santa Claus

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 22 December, 2016, 1:19pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 22 December, 2016, 6:48pm

Six auditors clad in gingerbread costumes paid local non-governmental organisation Enrich a surprise visit earlier this month to learn about the needs of local migrant workers.

The visit was part of a Christmas treasure hunt across Hong Kong island organised by accounting giant KPMG, one of the sponsors for this year’s Operation Santa Claus (OSC) campaign. The annual charity drive is organised by the South China Morning Post and RTHK.

This year, KPMG has donated more than HK$500,000 to OSC.

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The treasure hunt, called “Run for a Claus”, aimed to bring together employees of the accounting company and beneficiaries of OSC. The game encouraged the more than two hundred participants to visit local charities, including numerous OSC beneficiaries, to gain as many points as possible.

Audit manager Jackson Lee, captain of the winning team “Ginger Bread”, said his team visited six different charities through the event. He said: “This year’s event really helped us to get to know the NGOs that OSC is helping.”

He said that when his team visited Enrich, a local NGO which promotes the economic empowerment of migrant domestic workers, they had to finish tasks such as researching and answering questions about migrant workers in Hong Kong on a designated iPad.

“I learnt that there were lots of middlemen who would exploit them ... So it is not uncommon that they would come to the city with loads of debts,” he added.

He said that the game helped spread awareness about these local NGOs among all the participants. “These are not big international NGOs that OSC is helping,” he said. “Personally, it made me a lot more informed about the causes these smaller NGOs are dedicated to.”

Agreeing with Lee, Pat-Nie Woo, partner of corporate social responsibility at KPMG, also said: “Everybody just [knows of the name] Operation Santa Claus but people don’t see what’s behind it. So this is actually helping colleagues to understand what’s behind it.”

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Although it was KPMG’s first time organising the event, the level of participation was encouraging, according to Woo. This is the second year the accounting firm is supporting OSC.

“The most exciting part is that over two hundred colleagues, and some of our clients as well, from every single [department] within the company are all participating in this,” he said.

He said the event was technically open to anyone who is interested, adding that: “Anyone who wants to join us ... are more than welcome. We want this thing to grow big.”

He said the game was also about having fun during the Christmas season and therefore it encouraged players to put on the most festive or funky outfits. At the event, participants were dressed in all sorts of costumes, ranging from Christmas symbols to superheroes.

“We went as a team. Four to six people in a team,” Woo said. “And our team was called ‘A Very Bad Christmas Card’.”