Making Magic for Children in Hong Kong
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Making Magic for Children in Hong Kong

Our team in China hosted a special gathering for a group of disadvantaged students

Hong Kong, China, is generally recognized as one of the most advanced cities in Asia. Yet the so-called "rich-poor gap," which measures the disparity between those who live in wealth and those who live in poverty, is among the highest in the world. "According to government statistics, one in every four children in Hong Kong lives below the poverty line," says Christine Wong, Grand Circle's Area Manager in Hong Kong. "For our community service event, we decided to bring a ray of light to some of these children before the summer came to an end."

On August 26, Christine led a team of associates, local Chinese guides, vendors, and friends and family in an event to benefit students of the Fresh Fish Traders' School. "This school is widely known in Hong Kong as serving students from families with the lowest means," says Christine. "Most of them come from single-parent households that fall into Hong Kong's lowest income bracket. Some of them can't even afford three proper meals a day." The 50 children selected to participate in the event were handpicked by their teachers in recognition of their contributions in school, both in academics and extracurricular activities.

The team worked with local vendors in China to help make the day memorable for the children. First, they enjoyed a bus ride sponsored by the Tai Fung Coach Company. Then, they gathered at Hong Kong's Cityview Hotel, where they were treated to a delicious buffet lunch. "The food included children's favorites like French fries and ice cream," says Christine—who is quick to add, "Of course healthy foods like salads and vegetables were also available!"

Once everyone had eaten their fill, it was time for the fun and games to begin. A professional magician named Gary played a few warm-up games with the children, and handed out colorful balloons. Then he delighted them with a magic show, featuring a flying coffee table, a flower growing from an empty glass box, and a talking rabbit. "What impressed us most was his ability to create cartoon characters from balloons," says Christine.

The next game involved a lucky group of OAT travelers who were touring Hong Kong during the event. Divided into groups, the children and travelers collaborated in a game called "collector." "We announced several casual items to be collected within each group, such as a watch, a pair of sunglasses, a backpack, etc.," explains Christine. "All of the items were to be worn by one person." The team with the best-dressed "collector" won prizes donated by Fundex Games Company and Goldsino Development, Ltd.—and every child in attendance received a goodie bag. "Each bag included a pack of pencils, a stationery set, a stuffed animals, and the all-time children's favorite: Oreos!"

Of course, it wasn't just the children who enjoyed the event. "For all of us who participated, it was a great learning experience to see how poverty affects children," says Christine. "We hope the joy and happiness of the day will stay with them, and we wish them a successful year ahead!"

Featured in our September 2011 E-Newsletter. Read the full issue here.