EOC Launches Equal Opportunities Expo 2002
The Equal Opportunities Expo 2002 kicks off today (27 October 2002), at Tai Po Mega Mall with a month-long series of events and activities to promote equal opportunities. The Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) has adopted for this year's Expo the theme "Put Prejudice Away", which focuses on promoting acceptance of persons with chronic illness, HIV/AIDS or mental illness.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, Ms. Anna Wu, Chairperson of the Equal Opportunities Commission, said, "The objective of the Equal Opportunities Expo 2002 is two-fold, to encourage people to act against discrimination, and also to encourage community support and acceptance of persons with disabilities."
Ms. Wu explained, "There are 269,500 persons with disabilities in Hong Kong, and 882,700 persons with chronic illness. The official figure of persons with mental illness is estimated at 96,000. Through birth, accident, injury or the aging process, many people have no choice but to live with disabilities or illnesses. Their lives are not easy. Many cannot get jobs, or are last hired, first fired. Many are burdened by stigma associated with their illnesses."
Ms Wu continued, "We need to foster a culture respecting differences and individual rights, while challenging stereotyping and stigmatization. Raising awareness about the illnesses and discrimination issues would help to enhance public understanding and encourage timely treatment especially for stigma-related illnesses such as AIDS and mental illness."
Ms Anna Wu officiated at the launch with the Hon. Andrew WONG Wang-fat and the Hon. Andrew CHENG Kar-foo, Legislative Councilors; Mr. CHEUNG Hok-ming, Chairman of the Tai Po District Council; Mr. Frankie LUI, District Officer of the Tai Po District; Ms Atty CHING, Vice-Chairman of the Hong Kong Coalition of AIDS Service Organizations and Mr. NG Hang-sau, Chief Service Supervisor of the Hong Kong Society for Rehabilitation Community Rehabilitation Network.
At today's Expo opening, the Hon. Andrew WONG Wang-fat and the Hon. Andrew CHENG Kar-foo joined other speakers in presenting their views on discrimination. Several persons who have or had chronic illness revealed their personal experiences of fighting illness and prejudice. The speakers unanimously agreed that more resources and support should be provided to persons with illnesses or disabilities.
Today's launching ceremony, which also served as the Commission's seventeenth roadshow, featured performances, exhibitions and a number of information booths. Counselors manning the booths were from the co-organizers, namely, Hong Kong Society for Rehabilitation Community Rehabilitation Network, Hong Kong Coalition of AIDS Service Organizations, Alliance for Patients' Mutual Help Organizations, Hong Kong Lupus Association, Hong Kong Rheumatoid Arthritis Association, Hong Kong Ankylosing Spondylitis Association and B27 Association.
The Equal Opportunities Expo is the Commission's annual event held in October and November to promote equal opportunities. Over twenty organizations have joined in this year to organize workshops, exhibitions, variety shows, carnivals and fun competitions. The Expo is the second phase of the "Put Prejudice Away" campaign, a major publicity initiative of the Commission to encourage people to act against discrimination.
Details of the Expo programmes are available on the EOC website at http://www.eoc.org.hk. The programme brochures of the Expo are available in District Offices and the EOC Office. The public is most welcome to participate in the activities.
Enquiry: Mr. Sam HO 21062187