- Clara Ki Lu uses her love of books and knowledge of movies to benefit her community
- Around 2,000 students from subsidised schools signed up for her summer and after-school programmes
What started as a fiery love for words for Clara Ki Lu grew into a passion for getting others to read. At first Clara, 17, donated books to the China Welfare Institute Foundation.
Then in 2016, she set up her own organisation, Read For All Hong Kong, so she could work with local charities to share more books and promote the value of reading to more people.
But when the pandemic started, bringing almost everything to a halt, she decided to branch out and spread her message in a way that could benefit more people.
“During the pandemic, I realised that there’s so much more I can do for our society in terms of spreading this powerful message of words,” Clara says.
“Words aren’t only found in books ... they are also found in film, in screenwriting.” So she decided to teach other young people more about those aspects.
Clara has experienced film and screenwriting first-hand. She featured in the movie An Allure of Tears, directed by Barbara Wong Chun-chun, and played XiXi on RTHK radio show Our Fifteen Years, a drama about a Hong Kong family after the handover.
Clara, who studied at St Paul’s School, in the US state of New Hampshire, decided to use her knowledge and practical insights to give back to her community. Earlier this year, she used her organisation as a platform for a summer and after-school enrichment programme for several subjects.
Students who sign up are given an educational kit. These contain homework assignments, links to free extra help sessions on Zoom, and the contact information of teachers who will answer students’ questions.
The English kit, for example, includes an analytical essay written by Clara on how to come up with a persuasive introduction, a proper follow-up, and a conclusion to your piece of writing.
As well as offering support in English and Chinese language, physics and maths, Clara’s programme offers lessons in film and screenwriting.
“I wanted to use my platform to raise awareness that the arts are still very important, and I can see that through the 2,000 students who have signed up for the course,” explains Clara.
“The most popular courses were screenwriting and film ... it shows how Hong Kong people still value the arts.”
With the help of China Welfare Institute and Tung Wah Group of Hospitals, she reached out to subsidised schools in Hong Kong, where she now has 2,000 eager students.
Her experiences at RTHK and film labs at her boarding school in the US fitted perfectly with her goal of sharing her knowledge and offering creative guidance to the next generation. She shares what she learned from being on set.
For example, do you know what a shot sheet is? It’s a list of references of everything that needs to be shot at a location. And room sound? This refers to removing background noise when there is no dialogue in a scene.
“I also discuss the production process. For example, in the educational kits, I teach them all the different types of angles and shots. Each angle and shot can be creatively combined, and that greatly enhances the quality of a film.”
Ultimately, Clara wants to make a difference.
“I want to inspire these students from underprivileged communities and give them opportunities to explore their passions and imagination at a young age,” she says.
“I want to be a positive role model so that they believe in themselves and know the importance of using their talents and knowledge to support the next generation.”