Operation Santa Claus

Hong Kong volunteers help visually impaired old folks with free home repairs

  • Hong Kong Federation of the Blind, an Operation Santa Claus beneficiary, hopes to do larger-scale renovation work for 100 households over next two years
PUBLISHED : Thursday, 29 November, 2018, 10:03am
UPDATED : Thursday, 29 November, 2018, 10:03am

Cheng Hing-yee is blind, but the 69-year-old can mostly take care of herself.

“I cook for myself. I usually ask a volunteer to buy groceries for me,” she said.

The former factory worker, who lost her sight about 20 years ago and lives alone in a public housing flat in Lam Tin, is able to do her own household chores. It is the minor repair work needed for her 140 square foot home that sometimes causes problems.

As she is unable to see, Cheng cannot fix broken pipes or damaged wiring, which could become potential dangers to her.

She had, for example, lived with a pair of dilapidated ventilation fans in her kitchen and bathroom until a team of volunteers replaced them in October.

The senior citizen is one of many people who have benefited from the Hong Kong Federation of the Blind’s free home maintenance services.

Former firefighter Leung Chung-yu, who helped Cheng with the repairs, said he had joined the federation in June to work for elderly people facing such situations. He said he had fixed electrical plugs, peeling paint on walls and many other home maintenance issues for old folks who had lost their vision and lived alone.

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“These people are neglected by society. We have to help these disadvantaged individuals,” Leung said.

The federation plans to expand and enhance its home improvement services for needy households with funds from Operation Santa Claus, the annual charity campaign jointly organised by the South China Morning Post and public broadcaster RTHK.

Tony Shing Li-lim, executive director of the federation, said they hoped to conduct larger-scale renovation work for 100 households over the next two years.

“We hope our services will put these elders’ mind at ease and enable them to continue to live in their rooms safely and happily,” he said.