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HK Strives to Enrich Lives of Children in Poverty
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After offering the final touch up, a heart-shaped painting was finished by a bunch of children and guests at the Spring Art for Love kick-off ceremony here Tuesday.

Co-organized by the Boys' and Girls' Clubs Association of Hong Kong (BGCA), Caltex Hong Kong Limited and Hong Kong Institute of Aesthetic Education (HKIAE), the Spring Art for Love is a fundraising event not only delivers the love message through art, but it will also help to generate fund for the needy children in the community.

Director of BGCA Justina Leung said that children from low-income families are often deprived of opportunities for success due to limited resources from their families.

According to figures from the Hong Kong Council of Social Service, in 2002, about 17.1 percent or 190,000 children under 15 years of age in Hong Kong came from low-income families; by 2003, this figure had increased to over 260,000 children living under severe economic restrictions.

Research shows that these conditions have a major negative impact on children's learning capabilities and social development.

"Caltex Project Chance aims at creating a better environment for these children to learn so that they can have more opportunities and exposures for learning," Leung said.

Organized by BGCA and sponsored by Caltex Hong Kong, Caltex Project Chance was launched in 2005 to assist children from low-income families in Hong Kong to break through the barrier of poverty by enhancing their self-esteem, emotional strength, confidence and resiliency in dealing with daily hardships.

Through a series of early intervention initiatives, the scheme focuses on creating a richer learning, health and cultural environment for these children so that they can have similar opportunities to their better-off counterparts.

Leung told the reporter that the Caltex program has been very fruitful as it has helped needy children to build confidence and a positive attitude towards life. And as an ongoing community support program, every year Caltex Project Chance provides support to about 100 children aged between 6 and 9 living in harsh economic conditions, she added.

Beneficiaries of the program primary school students Ah Yi and Ah Yum said that they feel happy to join the activities in the program which helped a lot in improving their studies and interpersonal skills. They will make a thank you card at the Spring Art for Love event for those who have given them great support in the program.

As introduced by the organizers, local artists will provide ideas and guidance for participating public to undertake a series of art making activities based on the idea of spreading love and care at Spring Art for Love.

Board Member of HKIAE Cheung Wai Ching encouraged children to care those around them. She said, "Through Spring Art for Love, we expect parents and children could create their artwork together and let the children to learn how to treasure the things they have and how to express and share love."

The event will be held on Feb. 25 next year at the Hong Kong Cultural Center Piazza. All donations will go to Caltex Project Chance to benefit children from low-income families in Hong Kong.

Children living in better conditions are encouraged to express their caring to those children in needs during the seasons of giving, such as spending the money from red pockets in Chinese New Year to join the event.

(Xinhua News Agency December 13, 2006)

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