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Speech by SLW at ACCA Charity Fun Day (English translation)

    Following is the translation of the speech by the Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Mr Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, at the 11th Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) Charity Fun Day today (December 9):

Mr Morison Chan, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,

     It gives me great pleasure to take part in the opening ceremony of the 11th ACCA Charity Fun Day.  I am honoured indeed to meet and to speak to such a distinguished audience comprising members from various sectors of the community, including multi-national and local business corporations, the welfare sector and our younger generation in the universities.  Despite the differences in our background, we all share a common mission of promoting the well-being of the disadvantaged.  Today is an excellent opportunity for all of us to get together and share our aspirations and experiences.

     Apart from being a renowned professional accountancy body, the ACCA Hong Kong is also well known for the care and attention its members show to the disadvantaged in society.  It has been ACCA's annual effort to organise the Charity Fun Day to help raise funds for various charitable projects.  In the past 10 years, the programme has raised over $6 million, and supported as many as 24 non-government organisations and self-help groups to organise programmes of a varying nature to care for the needs of the disadvantaged.  

     This year, two out of the three beneficiaries of the Fun Day serve persons with disabilities and their families.  On the Government's part, we have always striven to facilitate the full integration of persons with disabilities into the community through promoting a barrier-free environment and a full range of facilitating measures.  We recently completed a new Rehabilitation Programme Plan that sets out two strategic directions for the future development of our rehabilitation services.  The first one is promoting a tripartite partnership among the business sector, social services sector and the Government.  The second is empowering persons with disabilities and their families to become valuable assets of the community.  Despite limitations and challenges in some aspects of life, persons with disabilities do have abilities and talents that they could contribute to our society.  The support of the entire community is essential to breaking down the barriers to persons with disabilities participating fully in society.  This Charity Fun Day is an excellent example of how all of us from different sectors can work together to support and encourage persons with disabilities to become active members of our community.

     Apart from joining today's Charity Fun Day, each of us in our work routine or daily lives could help to promote the full integration of persons with disabilities.  When you or your companies procure goods (such as souvenirs and organic products) or services (such as catering, letter-shopping, car washing, office cleaning, home cleaning, massage, eco-tour, design and printing), consider buying from rehabilitation social enterprises.  There are at present about 80 such social enterprises, which are set up by non-profit-making rehabilitation NGOs to provide more employment opportunities for persons with disabilities.  When you enjoy the services and the food provided by these social enterprises, you are at the same time supporting persons with disabilities to realise their abilities and lead independent lives.  The Social Welfare Department's Marketing Consultancy Office stands ready to help you source the goods and services you need from rehabilitation social enterprises.  

     In recent years, more and more businesses realise that adopting an open attitude in employing persons with disabilities could do good to their companies.  Benefits include having a larger pool of talent for recruitment, enhancing their staff development and team building programmes and promoting a positive corporate image.  If you are about to recruit new staff, my colleagues at the Selective Placement Division of the Labour Department would be most happy to provide you with one-stop services in recruiting suitable disabled employees with the necessary skills to fill your vacancies.  If you would like to gain some first-hand experience in working with persons with disabilities, you could also join one of the on-the-job training schemes, such as the Work Orientation and Placement Scheme and Sunnyway On the Job Training Programme for Young People with Disabilities, offered by the Labour Department and Social Welfare Department.  

     There are many ways you could contribute to promoting a caring culture for persons with disabilities.  My colleagues and I would welcome the opportunity to give you suggestions, address your concerns and provide support to you in this regard.  The ACCA has our contact information, and we look forward to hearing from you.

     Once again, let me thank the ACCA most warmly for inviting me to join this very meaningful event.  I look forward to working closely with you in fostering an inclusive and harmonious community for all.  I wish you a memorable and enjoyable fun day!  Thank you.

Ends/Sunday, December 9, 2007
Issued at HKT 11:15


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