Operation Santa Claus
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Students host Crazy Hat and Hair Day to raise money for Operation Santa Claus. Photo: Xiaomei Chen

Hong Kong international school achieves triple its fundraising target using silly wigs, sweets and a whole lot of fun

  • DSC International School raises record-breaking HK$125,621 on December 3 as part of Operation Santa Claus
  • The school’s Crazy Hat & Hair Day brings joy, fun and much-needed laughter as staff shave heads and children put on funny wigs

DSC International School in Hong Kong topped fundraising records – three times the intended target – for charity last year. Its secret? Funky hats, wigs and shaved heads.

Sundae cups, clown wigs, a half-metre-long rocket and Hershey’s Kisses were just a few of the get-ups sitting atop pupils’ heads on December 3 as part of activities to raise funds for Operation Santa Claus (OSC) – an annual charity drive co-organised by the South China Morning Post and public broadcaster RTHK since 1988.

The school in Quarry Bay was established in 1986 and offers classes for pupils aged four to 18.

Its latest week-long charity event, which started on November 29 and ended with the “Crazy Hat & Hair Day” on December 3, raised a record-breaking HK$125,621 (US$16,109), more than tripling the target of HK$35,000. The previous record was HK$70,502.36 in 2016.

DSC International’s parent organisation, CTF Education Group, pupils and their families contributed to the amount raised through initiatives such as the sale of candygrams.

Rebecca Marans, head teacher of pastoral care and well-being of DSC International School’s elementary division, said the pupils were especially passionate about doing good this time since “Crazy Hat & Hair Day” – the annual fundraiser for OSC since 2016 – had to be cancelled after classes were suspended in 2020 amid the coronavirus pandemic.

(From left) DSC International School staff Rebecca Marans, Jason Walter, Allan Morrison and Adrianna Mahoney with some children at the campus in Quarry Bay. Photo: Xiaomei Chen

“The children were especially excited about the event this year [2021] because we lost so many fun initiatives in 2020,” she said. “The funds raised this year [2021] alone surpassed that of 2017, 18 and 19 altogether.”

Aside from the pupils’ proactive campaigning, senior staff at the school also promised to shave their heads should the fundraising target be reached.

“That really helped motivate the students, especially the younger ones,” said Marans, adding that the candygrams sale alone raised HK$14,000.

In addition to “Crazy Hat & Hair Day”, DSC International has also organised charity events such as monetary donations and clothing drives to The Community Chest of Hong Kong. Pupils have also taken part in food drives with local food bank Feeding Hong Kong and fundraisers for wildlife causes.

Before the pandemic, pupils also joined the annual Terry Fox Run, going on 5km or 10km runs to raise funds in support of cancer research in the name of the late Canadian athlete.

“We’re not a huge school, but we have that community feel where we help the kids develop cultural understanding – this builds a good base for social responsibility,” Marans said.

“We are very privileged here, especially as an international school. So it’s our responsibility to give back, whether it’s our time, kindness or finances, however we can.”