Macau | Children’s association being “cornered” by Gov’t and private sector - Head (Corrected)

The Macau Child Development Association (MCDA) is launching an ultimate appeal for securing funds needed to run its operations

Macau (MNA) – The Macau Child Development Association (MCDA) is launching a final appeal to secure funds needed to run its operations. Without such funds it will be forced to cease providing services for children with developmental disorders and their families.

Speaking to Macau News Agency (MNA), the director of the association, Eliana Calderon highlighted some of the issues she deems are seriously jeopardizing the continuation of their work in support of some 800 families registered with MCDA.

Overall, these relate to a lack of support, technical and financial, from both public and private parties, and the difficulties the association is experiencing in finding professionals that can assist with the project, launched in 2004.

“I want to know what Mr. Alexis Tam, who supported the initiative since the beginning, thinks about it,” Ms. Calderon told MNA.

She claims the association is being “cornered” by various institutions.

“I don’t believe in pressure,” she said. “But I really feel intimidated.”

At a press release conference on Monday, Ms. Calderon referred to MCDA’s “urgent financial situation,” and pointed out that the association currently does not have funds to cover the administration and service operation costs of its headquarters, located in the Macau Peninsula. She also predicted that the operations of its subsidiary centre, the Macau Child Development Centre (MCDC), may have to be discontinued.

“We only operate the facilities in Macau, after we lost the Taipa facilities,” she added.

The association supports children with developmental disorders or ‘special needs’ and their families, who request services, therapy, training, and activities.

In particular, Ms. Calderon signalled that the Social Welfare Bureau (IAS) has made the association’s life more problematic, by providing support only to the Centre.

She also explained that IAS is reducing the age range of the children the Bureau is willing to provide services and support for.

“Previously, we received support for children from two to 14 years old. Now they say they can only support children from zero to three years old,” she commented.

Another problem caused by the IAS is that it “is requesting personal information from our members, but there is a law that does not allow us to provide that to them,” she told MNA.

Under pressure

The pressure is not only coming from public departments.

The MCDA director claimed further that casino operators, which used to contribute to the association in the past, are no longer replying to their sponsorship requests.

She cited Wynn Macau and also the Banco Nacional Ultramarino (BNU), as past sponsors of the association which have withdrawn their support.

“Now [casino operators] claim there are too many associations seeking their support,” she highlighted, noting additionally that the Education and Youth Affairs Bureau (DSEJ) “has antagonized” them.

The main problem the MCDA faces, as highlighted in the press conference announcement released today, is the need to secure funds to continue its operations, including paying the rent for its headquarters.

‘If no immediate solution is found, MCDA will incurred in debts that could not recover,’ the press release reads. ‘[…] we will be forced to declare insolvency, and terminate all current employees and stop its services until funds are secured.’

Ms. Calderon is expecting to meet media and interested parties on March 15 at 2:30pm at the association’s headquarters.

[Corrects age from zero to three on paragraph 12, and changes name of government department to Education and Youth Affairs Bureau (DSEJ) from Gaming Inspection and Co-ordination Bureau (DICJ) on paragraph 17]