Rica Lee worked at PathFinders for 6 weeks over the summer as an Access to Justice intern. Rica has now returned to the UK where she is studying for her Bachelor of Laws Degree at The University of Cambridge.
We wish Rica all the best in her studies and thank her for her hard work over the summer!
What have you learnt from this internship?
Spending 6 weeks at PathFinders has provided me with an insight into the hardships that Foreign Domestic Helpers face, both in Hong Kong and other countries. FDHs in Hong Kong are invaluable to society, allowing locals to balance their career and their domestic responsibilities. It is a tragedy that a group of workers who work so hard and are such an asset to the community are common targets of racial discrimination and are not afforded the same level of protection as all other employed persons in Hong Kong. Undertaking this internship has also shown me the importance of advocacy and providing a voice for vulnerable parties – it was so inspiring to see so many NGOs and large public figures advocating for the rights of FDHs, and also to see staff at PathFinders hosting classes and helping clients feel more empowered by providing them with opportunities to share their stories. I hope to use the knowledge I have gained through working as part of the Access to Justice Team, and through talking to clients and other teams within PathFinders, to help vulnerable people in future. PathFinders has truly helped me find my path in life.
What activities have you been participating in?
During my time at PathFinders, I accompanied clients to various government departments (e.g. Legal Aid Department, Immigration Department…etc.) and attended various client meetings with lawyers, to provide companionship and support to PathFinders’ clients. This provided ample opportunity to get to know clients and to better understand the obstacles that they face on a day-to-day basis as FDHs. I was also given many interesting research tasks, many of which concerned new points of law, to try and find arguments to support client’s cases.
One aspect of interning at PathFinders which I found particularly enjoyable was the opportunity to delve into a variety of different areas. While I was mainly involved with the Access to Justice Team, helping with legal matters, I was also able to explore the policy side of things. This included drafting a letter to the Social Welfare Department and speaking points for an ex-chairperson of the Equal Opportunities Commission. Working in the Access to Justice Team also allowed for interaction with the Case Managers, and speaking to them provided a different perspective on the problems encountered by clients. Lastly, I also helped out with the outreach programmes, which involved assisting during client-focused educational workshops. Many clients brought their children with them, and seeing the children that PathFinders is helping was particularly touching because it helped put all the work being done at PathFinders into perspective.
What kind of change in society do you, after interning with Pathfinders, hope for?
I hope to see society become less judgemental. After my experience at PathFinders, I believe that a large part of the problem is that many locals in Hong Kong perceive FDHs to be lesser than themselves. While I’m currently still unsure about whether this is because of their race or because of the nature of their work or even a mixture of the two, I think that this is irrelevant. FDHs should be afforded the same rights and levels of protection as any other employed persons in Hong Kong. It is my view that the Hong Kong Government needs to respond to the needs of FDHs, and of other ethnic minorities present in Hong Kong.