Operation Santa Claus

How China Citic Bank International is giving underprivileged children a chance to learn

China CITIC support for our campaign shows community spirit that has seen underprivileged children get the opportunity to excel in studies

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 06 January, 2015, 2:54am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 06 January, 2015, 2:54am

China Citic Bank International is no stranger to charity. Starting in 2008, the bank partnered with St James' Settlement to create the Citic Bank International Knowledge Angel Project, which provides free tutorial classes for underprivileged families.

The programme receives matching grants from the Social Welfare Department's Partnership Fund for the Disadvantaged. and by 2011 had provided classes to more than 700 students.

So it's only natural that China Citic Bank has contributed to Operation Santa Claus for the past three years.

The bank is "committed to ploughing back resources to meaningful causes ... to demonstrate its care and concern for Hong Kong's underprivileged," CEO Office director Zoe Lau said.

"We have had great pleasure in contributing to the community spirit of Operation Santa. It is true that small changes can lead to something big," referring to the theme of the 2014 campaign, "Small Change, Big Change".

Launched in 1988, Operation Santa Claus will raise money for 20 beneficiaries in six areas this year, including youth, the elderly and people with mental and physical disabilities. The campaign, which has raised more than HK$13 million in donations so far, is organised by the South China Morning Post and RTHK.

The bank's Angel Project has flourished since 2011. The programme expanded into a Knowledge Angel Academy, which supported the costs of learning for 600 local and ethnic minority students from underprivileged families over a three-year period.

And the results have been impressive, with more than half of the students achieving higher scores in English, Chinese and mathematics.

This was achieved over seven years during which the bank has donated about HK$10 million to the programme.

More recently, the Academy has initiated a Senior Management Interview Workshop, a media programme for 80 primary students who achieved extraordinary academic results.

Led by a team of media professionals, participating students had a chance to acquire some news reporting techniques and even got to interview Helen Kan, the bank's executive director.

Among the beneficiaries for 2014 that caught the bank's eye was the Rainbow Project, which provides vital support to children from low-income families with autism spectrum disorder.

"By helping the underprivileged to attain upward mobility, we are giving them the gift of hope to improve lives," the bank's Lau added.