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Monday, December 24, 2007

Malls organize Christmas charities for children

Agnes Winarti, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Christmas is the time when kids receive presents from Santa, but at several malls in Jakarta this year anyone can give children reasons to smile.

At Senayan City Mall in South Jakarta, the Lego Charity Toy Box is accepting toy donations for less fortunate children across the country.

The program is the joint effort of ALJ (Lego's sole distributor in Asia) and the charity organization Wahana Visi Indonesia (WVI), and will be accepting donations until Jan 2, 2008.

Event coordinator Sandy Syahril said public response had been positive.

"I'm especially proud of the fact that most of the donators know about this charity from dropping by and asking us what they can do. It really shows how people are willing to give," he said.

Priscilla Christin, Donor Acquisition and Marketing Manager for WVI, said toys could also be donated at its charity booths in Plaza Indonesia, Kelapa Gading Mall, Plaza Senayan and Grand Indonesia.

On Sunday's opening at Senayan City, the program took in around 40 toys, including dolls, toy cars and play cooksets.

Priscilla said Christmas was just one opportunity among many for people to share their good fortune.

"It's important that you give not just because it's Christmas," she said. "Ultimately we want people to learn the value of giving.

"When you're getting new toys, give the old ones away, because these children are simply going to love whatever you give them."

WVI runs a sponsorship program for needy children in Indonesia, with 75,000 children currently under its care according to partner World Vision Indonesia.

The Lego Charity Toy Box is located next to the largest Lego toy city diorama in Asia, which was unveiled earlier this month at the mall.

Sandy said both the booth and the Lego toy city diorama were set up in the spirit of Christmas, and that all parts of the lego city were either donated or lent by the creators.

Other shopping malls in the city are celebrating the Christmas season in various ways.

Mal Taman Anggrek in West Jakarta is holding a robotics show featuring Christmas characters like Mr. Snowman and Santa's reindeer singing Christmas carols.

The animatronics robots were created by students of the Electro Engineering Department at the University of Satyawacana in Salatiga, Central Java.

The 15-minute play is held five times a day, and will run until Dec. 25.

Plaza Senayan, in South Jakarta, is holding a joint Christmas charity drive from Dec. 3 to 25 with environmental and children's education NGOs Habitat for Humanity, WWF, GNOTA, Save the Children and Sampoerna Foundation. Also offered are children's choir performances and opportunities to meet Santa.

Mal Artha Gading in North Jakarta is holding a Christmas decoration exhibition until Jan. 6 and offering a photo-op with Santa in a becak (pedicab). (anw)

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