When Christina Wong Ming-yan lost her sight due to German measles at the age of eight, she thought she had lost contact with the world. But after she started singing in her teenage years, she realised that art could provide a link and that songs were the easiest way to touch another person's heart. Now in her 20s, Ms Wong, a soprano, will perform at the International Festival of Inclusive Arts in December with world-renowned violinist Jue Yao. The festival, being held for the first time in Hong Kong, will run from December 2 to 10, and will provide a rare chance to see more than 1,000 artists with disabilities perform. Co-organised by the Health, Welfare and Food Bureau and the Arts with the Disabled Association Hong Kong, the festival will open with a ceremony featuring more than 10,000 people playing self-made drums. They will be conducted by the Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra's artistic director, Yan Huichang. Secretary for Health, Welfare and Food York Chow Yat-ngok said yesterday the festival would cost HK$7.6 million, with the government paying half and the rest being covered by private donors. More than 30,000 people are expected to participate in the festival. The event was launched by Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen in his policy address last year in the hope of using art to promote a harmonious and inclusive society. 'Art is conducive for people with disabilities to integrate into the society and will also help raise the living standard of our community,' Dr Chow said. That is certainly true of 47-year-old Roger Wan Kam-fai, who was confined to a wheelchair after contracting polio when he was eight months old. He is now a successful professional portrait photographer. Mr Wan said the festival would spread the word that disabled people were capable of achieving many things. Although he cannot move around freely when working and needs an assistant to help him with lighting arrangements, Mr Wan said it was not such a bad thing for a photographer to be disabled. 'Some photographers complain to me that they are tired after bending down to take pictures for some time,' he said. 'But it won't happen to me because I can sit down to take the pictures.' The festival will also include a performance by Evelyn Glennie, a hearing-impaired Scottish percussionist, Chinese opera, drama and painting exhibitions. Tickets will go on sale from today. For more information, visit www.hkifia.net .