Each “Child” is a VIP
By Rev Lawrence Chan
June 25, 2023
NPAC’s Community Witness Department was established in 2021. Since then, pastoral staff, social workers and brothers and sisters participating in community services could collaborate more closely. Whether it be through receiving and serving our neighbors inside the church or going into the community to care for friends in the street corners, we have been able to identify many more gifts from God among our brothers and sisters as well as our neighbors. These divine gifts may not be “everyone’s darling.” They even often bring challenges. Nevertheless, that allows us to encounter God. One of these God-given gifts is a group of children with special educational needs (i.e., SEN children).
According to social welfare institutions, it is estimated that in 2020, at least 82,858 children in Hong Kong have been diagnosed with SEN (with 11,475 pre-school and 71,383 school children). They make up 8.09% of the children population at the time. According to the 2021 survey of the Society for Community Organization, we found that the families of these children need care in many areas, including:
It can be seen from the above brief introduction how desperately these children and their families need support. In the past, the church provided daycare service at the Education Center, and one of the groups was designated for SEN children. However, the service was finally discontinued due to a lack of tutors with relevant qualifications. We felt obliged to them all the time. But we are also thankful that the tutors and those who serve in these groups had received these children with love.
Admittedly, the challenges are real. We need to finish helping every child complete their homework and review what they have learnt within a time limit of two hours or so. Order in class is a primary condition, but it is also one that is difficult to attain. One of our Very Important Persons (VIPs) is a SEN child. If not for the assistance from voluntary workers, it has been extremely difficult to help him calm down and complete the tasks. This VIP also attends the “Whole-person Development Scheme for School Children,” from which he learns English and has the opportunity to know about faith. Brothers and sisters and social workers care much about him and his family. At the same time, they also have some struggles about his continued participation.
Recently, the tutor related the story of Job in class and mentioned how Satan inflicted Job in order to prove that people believe in God only for benefits. After listening to the story, two students started a discussion: “Do you like God or Satan?” At that moment, the VIP said: “I like God, although I have never seen Him.” After knowing this, the tutor told the pastor: “I am so moved. God has helped me rediscover that original passion with which I joined the “Whole-person Development Scheme” – to help children know God from young.”
Each and every child is the LORD’s gift for us and our VIP. Let us respond with love.