The Catholic Church has always attached great importance to education, and integrated education is one of the major challenges in contemporary education. In order to raise the awareness of the community about integrated education and to support the schools that practice integrated education, Our Lady of Carmel Church and the Society of Charity of the Blessed Sacrament have launched a charity mooncake project this year.
Angelo, a staff member of the church, said that the purpose of this fundraising is to support the work of schools that implement integrated education and to take this opportunity to draw the attention and awareness of the public – especially the parishioners – to integrated education and SEN students (children with special education needs) in general. The theme of this year’s project is “Gathering for Communion under the Bright Moon,” which means that in addition to family reunions, these students with special needs can also look forward to integrating with other students on the occasion of the mid-autumn festival.
Special thought has been put into the packaging and design of the mooncakes. First of all, the appearance of the box is the same as that of the Carmelite Church, so the icon of Our Lady of Carmel, the patron saint of the parish, is printed on the box. The design of the mooncake has the word “communion” specially printed to symbolize the acceptance and communion of students with different needs in integrated education and to remind the people who receive this box of mooncakes of the difference between this charity mooncake and the mooncakes sold in the market.
There are three flavors in the box: lotus seed paste, red bean paste and mung bean paste, which are based on the same sound “rong,” “rong” and “rong,” meaning “tolerance” and “inclusion” in Chinese. There are six mooncakes in three flavors in the box, which reflects the idea that students with different educational needs can grow and learn together in school.
Francisco Choi Man Wai, president of Associação Piedosa do Escapulário do Carmo, pointed out in an interview with O Clarim that during the design process they chose to make mini mooncakes. He emphasized that they were made locally in Macau to meet current consumer tastes and quality requirements: “Moreover, we have three flavors in one box of mooncakes, and the three flavors can also be integrated into the same box, and the packaging also simply includes the element of inclusive education.”
Mr. Choi also revealed that this year’s production was affected by the sudden epidemic, but still received a lot of support from parishioners. So he hopes to continue contributing to integrated education next year with the same or similar themes: “The government also provides assistance to children in need, but it is also very limited. Some children actually do not need resources, but they need more time, patience and love, so schools actually need to have sufficient support in implementing integrated education, especially training for teachers and school staff as well as the purchase of special facilities and equipment. Although the Mooncake Project was affected by the epidemic in many ways, it still received a lot of support from the parishioners.
Angelo, the staff of the church, also pointed out that during the whole preparation process, it was a learning experience about the cake-making market, from knowing nothing about the manufacturers, understanding the production line, packaging, ordering, receiving orders, stocking, etc. Each step was intertwined. He thinks the biggest challenge is the storage problem: “We need to have enough space to store the mooncakes from the time they are shipped out to the time the buyers come to pick them up. I remember that during those weeks, Father Yuen’s office was filled with more than 10 boxes of mooncakes, hence he had to work in a crowded environment.” He also thanked the volunteers from the parish’s Holy Clothes Charity Association for their assistance in the shipping process.
After deducting costs, the Mooncake Project raised MOP 145,155.00. The donations were sent to Escola D. Luís Versiglia in Ka O, Escola de Santa Madalena and Dom João Paulino School to support their integrated education efforts.
Our Lady of Carmel Church would like to thank the Macau Lung Wah Bakery (Ma Hong Kei Pasterlaria) for designing the mooncake molds, making and packaging the mooncakes at a discounted price, and contributing to the charity work. The parish hopes to take this opportunity to bring the attention of the public to the students with the need for integrated education and their families, and to realize the vision of “Gathering for Communion under the Bright Moon.”