CECES’ journey over the past 40 years

CECES’ journey over the past 40 years has been one of innovations in different areas of interest.

1980 – 1989
1980 – 90 Annual Children’s month
The Council of Social Services invited CECES to join Children’s Week in 1980. The following year, CECES stretched the week into a month-long celebration of children. Lady Natasha Wilson became the Patron of CECES in 1987, and she opened the month long event in 1987. This landmark project, sponsored by the Hong Kong Public Libraries, was the first to bring together over 11 children’s NGOs to exhibit their various specialties.

Mrs. Lavender Patten was CECES’ next Patron in the 1990’s. There were 10 Children’s Month over the decade. CECES initiated a different theme each year, including, Children’s Play, Healthy Eating, Family Unity, Childsafe Action, Ecology, etc. These events raised public understanding that child rearing is varied, and must be given resources for this critical period of children’s lives. CECES’ advocacy role quickly spread over the community impacting many children’s services.

1988 started our office in Nam Shan Estate in Shek Kip Mei
The Jockey Club sponsored the renovation of 2 empty bays for an office and later another 2 for a learning centre. Thus, CECES was able not only to act as a lobby on children’s issue, but able to implement services for children.

1980 – 2008 The Fun Bus and the Nature Bus
The CECES double decker Fun Bus was purchased from the City Bus Company. The Housing Authority arranged parking spaces in 180 housing estates for children’s play and education. Ques of children flocked to the bus wherever it went. Staff taught them general hygiene, dental care, burns prevention, and many educational topics.

Later, the Kowloon Motor Bus sponsored another double decker bus. This also toured the city providing nature study and environmental topics, such as Water and Air Pollution, Rubbish Management and Energy Conservation.

1989 Healthy Living department
The Jockey Club provided $1 million that started the Healthy Living initiative. CECES started to teach Health and Nutrition in schools. The research showed an emergence of childhood obesity in Hong Kong. We brought to Hong Kong the international Food Pyramid diet, which the government helped to publicised in its Announcements of Public Interest (API) channels, promoted on the television and in the MTR displays. CECES started to provide nutritional education to school children. Many programmes were sponsored by corporations, the Department of Health, and the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries.

1989 ChildSafe Action Group
CECES pressed government to be vigilant about child safety regulations and set guidelines for the design of furniture and playground equipment. The Jockey Club provided $1.5 million in aid of this initiative. We targeted Burns Prevention, collaborating with the Orthopaedic and Traumatic Department in the Prince of Wales Hospital. Doctors pointed out the vulnerability of children to serious burns, many times so deep that they seared through the skin down to the bones.

Our Dental Care programmes were based on research from Hong Kong University’s Faculty of Dentistry, pointing out the deplorable effects of dental carries in Hong Kong’s children. CECES quickly started prevention educational programmes to address these health issues. The programmes brought much public and government attention, which up to this day, policies are still being monitored and improved.