About Music Children Foundation
The inspiration of forming Music Children Foundation (“MCF”) came from a BBC documentary on a music education programme in Venezuela “El Sistema” which I watched on the plane in 2010. The film featured how the programme provided free classical music education to impoverished Venezuelan children in order to help them to build up confidence and to get out of poverty and crime. It touched me so much that I was determined to do similar programmes to help underprivileged children in Hong Kong.
A Dream Turned Into Reality
My dream came true in 2013. MCF was formally established by a group of dedicated musicians. We strive to provide free music education for underprivileged children at an early age, making it an enjoyable experience that helps them to build up confidence, to strengthen characters and to express themselves through music. We offer totally free all-round musical training programs for kids under age 12. Children whose families are under Comprehensive Social Security Assistant and/or receive financial assistance from Working Family and Student Financial Assistance Agency are eligible to apply for our programme. We also provide family support programs to enhance child-parent bonding and promote harmonious family relationship. The programme offers talks, seminars and workshops to parents to help improve their social and parenting skills, enhance self-confidence and build up aspirations. Our team will take regular home visits to the families to understand more of their needs in order to provide timely support. Family members are also invited to attend the music training classes, appreciation workshops, music camps and concerts so as to bring music not only to the kids but also to the whole family. We also believe the engagement of the family members in different activities will encourage their kids to learn music.
A Humble Beginning
In the beginning, we had very limited resources. We did not have enough music instruments and class space. Children could not have their own musical instruments. They had to share the same instrument with other classmates. They could not bring the musical instruments home for practice because they lived in subdivided flats, they did not have enough space for the instruments. What they could do was to practice with their mouth pieces and even to do the practice at the roof top in order not to disturb their neighbours. Also, the Learning Centre was a really small flat. Children had to squeeze in a small pantry to practice. Nonetheless, insufficient musical instruments and space made them stronger and more determined to do well in their musical trainings.
In the programme, we are also able to know more about the children’s family background. Many of them are single parents and/or new immigrants from Mainland China. We are glad to see that the parents are able to form a group. It is like a small MCF community, allowing them to make new friends and reach out to other areas in Hong Kong in participating in our art events and activities.
In addition, children are also able to widen their horizon by joining our public performances at schools, elderly centres, NGOs and Government House. We open a door for the kids to the “outside world” and they keep coming back to us and say, “MCF is a treasure for us. Compared with other kids of our similar background, we’re so blessed. Thank you.” Our Children have attended more than 80 concerts and music activities this year. To showcase our Music Children’s achievements in their musical trainings, we just presented a concert “Music·Children Musical 2017” with its original music and lyrics at APA in early November. The Musical was officiated by Mr Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, GBM, GBS, JP, Chief Secretary for Administration of the HKSAR. We are so pleased that the Concert was well received by the public and our work was recognized by Mr Matthew Cheung on his blog on 12 Nov 2017. We are very much encouraged.
Into The Future
Our programme first started with 36 children in Shamshuipo but now it has reached out to more than 2000 children and their families. We are currently serving over 500 children with free music trainings, including learning music instruments, orchestral practice, choir training, attending concerts, public performance and exchanges with top-notched musicians. In 2018, our services will be expanded to other districts, such as Yau Tsim Mong, Wong Tai Sin, Kowloon City, Kwun Tong and Kwai Ching. Recently, we are so blessed to be able to secure some funding to set up a scholarship scheme, supporting distinguished students aged over 12 who have graduated from our 4-year training programme for further professional trainings to realize their full potential in music.
My two sons, Mark and Moses, have become MCF volunteers since it was founded. They help out in our activities and home visits. I strongly believe that music is not just for the rich and elites but should be accessible to all children irrespective of their financial background. Music can enhance children’s learning ability. They are more focused, more attentive and more able to manage their time effectively. Music can change our children; music can also change our community.
For more details about Music Children Foundation, please visit our website:Our Website