Hong Kong students may complain about their crowded bus trips - but for some mainland children the journey to school is a barefoot walk through the mountains. More than 300 SAR students got a taste of what it must be like when they took part in a barefoot walkathon that started at City University of Hong Kong (CityU). Despite temperatures dipping below 10 degrees Celsius, participants took off their shoes to brave the Walk To School Barefoot '98 course. The aim of the 1.9-kilometre walk - organised by Eunis Shum-ying, Dominic Wong Chi-chung, Michael Ip Hiu-cheong and Joseph Mok Wai- lung - was to show that an education should not be taken for granted. Some students, they said, had to make sacrifices in order to go to school. The four are all studying for Higher Diploma in English for Professional Communication at CityU, and the walkathon was part of their final-year project. To promote the fund-raiser, they first set up stalls at 17 secondary schools. Students from Concordia Lutheran School, Pui Kiu Middle School and youngsters from Tsim Sha Tsui Youth Centre of the Hong Kong Christian Service then helped form a committee to help organise the walk. Children in Hong Kong had the benefit of an easy education, Mr Wong said. 'But for some mainland students, it is not that easy. 'Since most people over there are farmers, for many the only way out of rural impoverishment is through education. 'That's why we chose to help them with our project.' Each walkathon participant was required to raise at least $50, which would pay for six months of a child's education on the mainland. Mr Wong said he personally had raised $750. Another member of the organising committee, Tony Ng Chi-lung, said his school, Concordia Lutheran, had raised $1,000. But only 20 students from the school had taken part, Chi-lung said, which was 'disappointing'. However, he said it was to be expected because many students were taking internal examinations at the time. Chi-lung said he had come to Hong Kong from the mainland nine years ago and agreed education was much better in the SAR. Walkers started at CityU Circle, went along Tat Chee Avenue, down Nam Sham Tseun Road and back to the starting point through Cornwall Street and Tat Chi Road. The route took about one hour to complete. Another of those who took part, Yung Leung-yuen, of Pui Kiu Middle School, said helping mainland children was important. But the amount of money raised was not the most vital factor. 'The most important thing was that we came to realise the value of education,' he said.