Operation Santa Claus

Hong Kong charity Art in Hospital aims to help intellectually disabled to find their creative streak

  • Under ‘Art without Boundary’ project, the charity is holding small workshop sessions at Siu Lam Hospital
PUBLISHED : Friday, 23 November, 2018, 10:04am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 05 December, 2018, 5:57pm

A Hong Kong charity believes that art transcends all boundaries and abilities, and is taking that message and putting it into practice.

The charity, Art in Hospital, is helping patients who are intellectually disabled to find their creative streak through visual arts classes.

Under its “Art without Boundary” project, the charity is holding small workshop sessions at Siu Lam Hospital in Tuen Mun to guide participants through an array of art forms.

The scheme has the capacity to enrol up to 720 patients and medical workers. It is being funded by Operation Santa Claus, the annual charity fundraiser organised by the South China Morning Post and ­government broadcaster RTHK.

Jaclyn Leung Ho-yu, the charity’s assistant manager and project coordinator, said it was the first time the organisation had organised workshops with the hospital, an institution that specialised in treating adults with severe intellectual disabilities.

“It’s a new approach,” Leung said. “We are going to work with some patients who use wheelchairs and have only minimal use of their hands. Some of them can’t hold a pen tight.”

Given the new learners’ special needs, the organisation, which has run nearly 400 community art projects with more than 30 public hospitals across the city since its establishment in 1994, will provide specially designed tools for them.

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Project art tutor and facilitator Koko Ko Bin-lin has put together, for example, a painting gadget with an extension that lets those with limited mobility draw things at the further end of a large sheet of paper and sketch out a big piece more easily.

A physically disabled patient can also put on a glove to which a pattern rubber stamp is attached, and make impressions on a piece of paper.

Leung said colourful ornaments were fitted to the drawing tools to stimulate interest among patients who took part in the workshop sessions.

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The charity wanted to tell participants and their carers that those with special needs could also enjoy art, the project coordinator said.

“We want to make a difference in their lives,” she said, adding that her team were exploring new art forms, such as music, to enrich the patients’ creative experience.

Citing past experiences, Leung said most participants in their community art projects had fun.

“There was an elderly learner who gently broke into a smile after finishing a piece of work,” she said.

How you can give:

Donate online by credit card at

Donate at an ATM or at any HSBC branch (account no: 502-676299-001 for SCMP Charities Ltd – Operation Santa Claus)

Donate with a cheque payable to “SCMP Charities Ltd – Operation Santa Claus” and mail it to: Operation Santa Claus, South China Morning Post, 19/F, Tower One, Times Square, 1 Matheson Street, Causeway Bay

Donations of HK$100 or more are tax-deductible. If you would like a tax receipt, please send the completed donation form and original bank receipt, with your name, address and phone number, to the above address. Please call +852 2680 8159 or email [email protected] with any inquiries, or visit us online at