Army veteran Tom Moore, the redoubtable 100-year-old whose charity walks raised tens of millions of pounds for British hospitals, was a national symbol of pluck in a country ravaged by the coronavirus pandemic.
Although his passing not long ago was sad for many, his story has undoubtedly influenced and inspired many people, including here in Hong Kong.
While the pandemic hit nonprofit organizations hard, four Year 12 students from an international school in Hong Kong will endeavor to complete the city’s longest trail to raise funds to help Hong Kong students with special education needs.
From March 27 to 29, Jack Ryan, Jaden Cheung, Gabriel Lowy and Martin Lau will hike the full 98-kilometer MacLehose Trail, starting from Pak Tam Chung in Sai Kung in the east to Tuen Mun Town in Tuen Mun in the west.
The trail is daunting not just in terms of its length, but also in terms of its elevation of 6,189 meters.
Despite having hiked together to prepare for the event, the four hiking enthusiasts said they have never done anything like this before in terms of length.
“We want to show that a fundraising event doesn’t have to actually cost money,” the students said.
“It could be more like a hobby – something that is fun, healthy and relieves stress. I think something like this is already good enough for a fundraising event.”
Posting on the online fundraising website SimplyGiving on February 18, the team initially aimed to raise HK$100,000 before April 30 to support the Child Development Centre, a nonprofit organization for special educational needs children.
As of Sunday, the initiative raised HK$143,997 from 108 donors. The team will be setting a higher target.
The students chose the center as the sole beneficiary, as team leader Ryan’s younger sister, who has Down’s Syndrome, previously attended an early intervention program there.
The team – and especially Ryan – understand the difficulties families face when raising and educating special needs children to reach their full potential, which every child deserves.
As one of only two government-supported early education and training centers in Hong Kong that provides programs and services in English and Chinese, the center provides education, assessment and therapy for special needs children aged under eight and serves more than 400 children per year.
“There is no doubt that under the current Covid-19 pandemic, nonprofit organizations like this will be affected the most, so any money donated will help now more than ever,” the students said.
Money donated to the center will go toward program and service expenses, allowing the organization to help more families and provide better care through their top-notch teaching specialists and therapists – all of which is tailored to each child’s needs.
Yvonne Becher, the center’s chief executive, said: “We are grateful for Jack and his team’s initiative and are glad that the center’s work is being recognized and has created such positive value to families throughout the years.
“Hope everyone can also feel the love and faith that Jack has for his sister and spread the positive energy to many other children with additional needs in our society.”
(This article was published at The Standard on March 23, 2021: Education: Students take hike for charity )