Press Release

Close to 600 elderly, aged up to 96, fast for 8 hours to help Syrian refugee children Dr. Leong Che-hung officiates the opening ceremony

The 8-Hour Elderly Famine, a fundraising event co-organised by World Vision Hong Kong, Hong Kong Baptist Hospital Au Shue Hung Health Centre and Radio 5 of Radio Television Hong Kong, is held today (23 May) at the Chinese YMCA of Hong Kong Wu Kwai Sha Youth Village. The event, now into its 26th year, has attracted close to 600 participants, with the oldest participant reaching 96 years old. By fasting for 8 consecutive hours, participants raise funds from their friends and families to support those in need.

This year’s opening ceremony is officiated by Dr. Leong Che-hung, Chairman of Committee on Elder Academy Development Foundation of the Elderly Commission, along with representatives from the three organisers. World Vision Hong Kong Chief Executive Officer Kevin Chiu says, “Six years have passed since the conflict broke out in Syria. A lot of Syrian children grow up in wars and have never experienced peace since their birth. We are very thankful for the support we received this year, which allows Syrian refugee children to have access to education again. The perseverance and kind action of the elderly are truly admirable.”

Among the participants this year, Ms. Choi Kwai Ying (蔡桂英), aged 93, won the top fundraiser award with a donation of $28,500. Unfortunately, she passed away just a week before the event, and thus was unable to accept the award herself. According to the elderly centre that she belongs to, Ms. Choi had been very supportive of the Elderly Famine event, even after she was diagnosed with cancer in 2008. Ms. Choi grew up in poverty and had been particularly passionate about helping the needy. This year, when she handed in the donation, she told the social worker that she went the extra mile in asking her friends and family for donation, knowing that it could be her last year participating in the event. Ms. Choi passed away the day after she was notified of the award. Her elderly centre purposely sent a young staff member to receive the award for Ms. Choi, in hope to encourage young people to learn from the great act of love of Ms. Choi.

In addition, 77-year-old participant Ms. Angel Chan (陳安琪) has joined the event for 10 years. Having experienced poverty herself, Ms. Chan says she first participated in the event out of curiosity, but she then found the event to be very meaningful, “I feel blessed to be able to help others. I try my best to do what I can to help more people. There are indeed many needs in this world.” Among this year’s participants, Ms. Yeung Yin Ming (楊洐明), aged 96, and Mr. Li Chung Mui (李松梅), aged 90, are the oldest female and male participants respectively.

Since 2011, World Vision has been working in Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey and Iraq, supporting refugees through food assistance, education and psychosocial support for children, etc. In 2016, World Vision’s Syria Response reached about 2.3 million people, including nearly 1.2 million children. Proceeds of this year’s event will be used to provide Early Childhood Education (ECE) programme for young Syrian children to meet their developmental milestone, as well as transportation to education centres and training for parents and caretakers. (Details)

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