UPDATE: The PLK just created a site for Online donations. Give early, give often (and get a tax break).
This project, which I helped launch, assists Hong Kong’s neediest children in learning to speak English and Mandarin. These languages, key for any Hong Kong resident entering the workforce, are often taught in a dull and rote manner.
Generously financed by JP Morgan through the Foreign Correspondents’ Club Charity Fund, the program injects fun into language learning for children who are resident at the Po Leung Kuk.
The 300 children resident at the Po Leung Kuk orphanage are Hong Kong’s neediest. Few are actual orphans these days. A large portion have been taken from their families due to abuse and others are there due to dire financial situations.
Even a quick visit to the Po Leung Kuk, such as one I did tonight, is a very striking and memorable event. Although coming from horrific circumstances, the children are filled with smiles and always eager to interact with outsiders. Today several insisted that I read storybooks to them – The Three Pigs – even though they do not speak much English. (My Mandarin is not yet up to the task of reading children’s stories!)
Below are some videos in which Michelle McEwan, the program’s director of studies, describes what happens. Very sorry not to include photos of the children, but they cannot appear in video.
Here’s the official description:
The Language Training Program started in February 2005 with donations from the FCC and JP Morgan which were met by matched funding from Po Leung Kuk. The program provides after-school English and Putonghua lessons as well as storytelling sessions in English to the children in Po Leung Kuk residential care in Causeway Bay and also in the twelve Po Leung Kuk Small Group Homes all over Hong Kong.
Currently English classes are provided for three hours per week through two lessons of one and a half hours each. Putonghua lessons and storytelling last one hour and are given once a week. Storytelling is provided for all children in the range of two and a half years to eighteen years and aims to interest children in English through reading stories, making crafts and food making, to name but a few activities. English and Putonghua classes are taught more formally with native teachers and aiming to use fun, interesting learning activities and games to allow the students to learn and practice in an open, friendly atmosphere. Classes are provided for children from three years to secondary level and almost three hundred children participate in the LTP.
1- A Tour of the Language Training Program
2- External validation of the program
3- An overview of how the program works
4- Michelle introduces herself