Food glorious food: Hong Kong school’s new project to bring joy to pupil’s suffering with ‘complex medical cases’
- Caritas Jockey Club Lok Yan School planning to give its pupils more meal choices after help from Operation Santa Claus
Huen enjoys fragrant dishes, even though the 10-year-old cannot eat like most people do.
“The senses of taste and smell work properly in these disabled children. The aroma of foods makes them happy,” said his mother, who declined to reveal her name.
“I hope he can experience different tastes of food.”
Huen, who has multiple disabilities, is a pupil at Sham Shui Po’s Caritas Jockey Club Lok Yan School, where as “a complex medical case”, he has been cared for over the past two years.
The students at the school, who live with severe intellectual and multiple disabilities, are put on a diet comprising mainly of puréed or liquid food. Most of them require feeding, or tube feeding.
With many parents wanting their children to have more food choices, the school plans to set up a food laboratory to develop simple and healthy recipes for the young patients.
The school principal, Chrysan Mok Oi-ling, said she hoped her students could enjoy a great variety of food, like other children did.
“We work with parents, chefs, nutritionists and doctors to find out how we can help our pupils, many of whom are tube-fed, to eat healthy and get all the nutrients they need,” Mok said.
Under the CMC Food Lab project, the team of professionals will plan balanced meals for the children that also appeal to their different senses. CMC is an acronym for complex medical case and also for Caritas Medical Centre.
The lab, set up near the medical centre, will also act as a platform for the promotion of a healthy diet and healthy life.
Apart from cooking classes, the team will organise seminars and workshops for the children’s carers, medical workers and members of the public.
Programme coordinator Kitty Tse Kit-ling said the food lab featured an accessible teaching kitchen.
“Wheelchair users can use the facilities specially designed for them here,” she said.
Tse noted that the team wanted to help the patients, as well as the general public, regain the joy of eating.
“It’s important the dishes look good, smell good and taste good, regardless of whether they are some common foods, purée or liquid food,” she said.
The food lab is operated with funds from Operation Santa Claus, the annual charity campaign jointly organised by the Post, and public broadcaster RTHK.
It is part of the school’s “Care for the Carers” programme, which seeks to help parents of children with special needs to improve their own lives.
“We want to help those who give up their careers to take care of the children full-time to unlock their potential,” Mok said, adding that the project provided opportunities for these carers to enrich their cooking and campaigning experiences.
“Some of these parents are so talented. They can help promote our healthy recipes in the community.”
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