The Hong Kong Blind Union was founded in 1964 to promote self- and mutual-help among visually-impaired people and to advocate equal opportunities in the community. Based in Kwun Tong, it provides support services, computer facilities, youth development programmes and professional technical and social assistance for its 1,400 members in Hong Kong and the mainland. It relies on public donations for 70 per cent of its funding. The union believes children with visual impairments should be able to enjoy the same rights as their sighted peers to grow up in a healthy and supportive environment. Learning is the key to healthy development but visual disabilities can lead to a lack of self-confidence for these children. Therefore, the union aims to provide a stimulating environment where both emotional and technical support are available. Speaking at the Operation Santa Claus launching ceremony, Hong Kong Blind Union chairman Chong Chan-yau made an appeal for donations. Funds received will be spent on support services, educational projects on the mainland and the first information and technology centre for visually impaired children. The total estimated cost for these services and the centre is $2,496,640. The information and technology centre would give children access to the latest tech nology and professional technical instructors. The centre would act as a base for promoting computer use among visually impaired children in the mainland. The union also plans to provide social workers, home visits and conduct talks about its work in the future. To help blind children integrate into mainstream schools, the union hopes to provide a support network, tutorial groups, visual-aid equipment, multimedia books, Braille computers and professional staff. The union's educational projects in the mainland help visually impaired children in Guangdong, Guangzhou and other areas attend school by providing school fees, visual- aid equipment, special books and monitoring visits from professional staff.