Operating in partnership with the Hong Kong Police and the Hong Kong Rugby Football Union, Operation Breakthrough helps youngsters who have either been arrested by the police for minor offences or have been identified by schools or social workers as being at-risk. The aim of the project is to use sport as a means of helping to fight crime and juvenile delinquency amongst low income and immigrant communities.
The project offers multiple sports such as rugby, boxing, football, contemporary dance, sailing and dragon boat racing. These sports are not usually available to the average working class child in Hong Kong, providing extra incentives for participants not to offend. The coaching, delivered by police instructors, teaches participants the importance of teamwork, trust, respect for others and discipline.
The programme also helps to redefine their relationship with authority figures such as the police and teachers.
So far the project is being seen as a remarkable success with reduced re-offending rates. There is also evidence of increased school attendance and greater integration into society. Ultimately, the whole community benefits as the youth become valued members of the community.
The project has already helped over 2000 children and young people lead more positive lives.