MEET OUR VOLUNTEER – MORGAN DAVIS
We’re ending the year – and will be kicking off the new year – with regular spotlights on volunteers who have dedicated their time and expertise to helping us at PathFinders. Meet Morgan Davis, a reporter at GlobalCapital Asia (Euromoney) who usually writes about the bond market in Asia. Morgan and her team spent two days at work with us earlier this month – find out what she and her team got involved with below….and get in touch if you’re interested in volunteering too!
Thank you Morgan and the team at GlobalCapital Asia!
HOW DID YOU HEAR ABOUT PATHFINDERS?
I first heard about PathFinders while watching The Helper Documentary. It’s a fantastic look at the lives of domestic helpers in Hong Kong. One of the helpers profiled in the documentary worked closely with PathFinders while she was dealing with her pregnancy and unemployment.
WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO VOLUNTEER AT PATHFINDERS?
At Euromoney we have two days per year to be used for volunteer work. Our team really wanted to volunteer with an organisation in Hong Kong that was helper-related. Most of us have part-time or full-time helpers, or we certainly know someone who does. PathFinders was an organisation that really resonated with us because of their work with these women, but also their role supporting them and filling in the gaps that exist.
WHAT DID YOUR DAY VOLUNTEERING AT PATHFINDERS ENTAIL?
Our volunteering really ran the gamut! Some of our team helped out with PathFinders’ holiday party, playing with the kids and even dressing up as Santa! The rest of the team put our journalism-related skills to work by speaking with caseworkers at PathFinders and writing up short profiles on some of their clients. We also worked on donor materials, formatting information sheets, and providing feedback on PathFinders’ website. We did a great deal of brainstorming as well, thinking about how the organisation can best communicate its message.
WHAT DID YOU LEARN ABOUT THE ORGANISATION/NATURE OF THE WORK?
I think we were all amazed at the sheer volume of cases that PathFinders deals with each year! I had no idea there were so many women and children that needed this kind of support. It was also incredible to hear how hands-on PathFinders is in every step of these women’s cases— from the legal process to the medical process, and everything in between. Dealing with such a sensitive, at-risk population involves so much specialised work, and the PathFinders team seems to work all hours to make sure their clients get any help they could possibly need.
DO YOU HAVE A MASSAGE FOR OTHER PEOPLE AT CORPORATES LOOKING TO VOLUNTEER?
Think about how to best use your skills! A lot of people like to do a team activity like painting a room or building a house. I know my previous companies have done work like this with Habitat for Humanity, community gardens, etc. But there are so many local charities that are desperate for your skill sets, be it writing (in our case), legal expertise, financial knowledge, graphic design skills, etc. Tell organisations you want to work with what your skill sets are and then ask how they can best be utilised. Also, think about the long term potential of your work. If you can become a repeat volunteer or dedicate even a couple of hours a month, it can make a big difference!
#volunteering #volunteers #journalist #skills #casestories #writing #foreigndomesticworkers #fdw #allchildrenmatter #gratitude
As part of our 10th anniversary celebrations we are sharing stories about our beneficiaries. Meet Jenny who is from the Philippines and has a now almost 3-year old daughter.
Thank you Jenny for sharing your story and photos of your beautiful little girl Janan Aubrey with our blog followers!
HOW DID PATHFINDERS HELP YOU WHEN YOU WERE PREGNANT AND AFTER YOU DELIVERED YOUR BABY?
PathFinders helped with hospital visits, hospital bills, immunisations for my baby, her birth certificate, and the visa extension. I also stayed in the PathFinders shelter for 4.5 months where everything I needed eg: food, bed etc were provided for me. When I was pregnant I joined a lot of classes run by PathFinders such as baby massage and parenting classes. I also went along to supplies collection days and am grateful to have received many clothes for my baby. Most importantly, PathFinders helped guide me to make good decisions for myself and for my baby as well as for my other three children back home in the Philippines.
HOW OLD IS YOUR CHILD NOW?
My daughter is almost 3-years-old and is living with my family in the Philippines while I have returned to work in Hong Kong for my old employer. This set up would not have been possible without the guidance and support of PathFinders.
HOW DID THE TEAM HELP YOU WITH YOUR RETURN HOME?
PathFinders helped pay for my baby’s plane ticket and followed up with me once I was back in the Philippines. PathFinders helped keep my visa valid then I returned home to take care of my baby for two years. Because I never overstayed my visa I was eligible to return to Hong Kong for work and so now I am back here with my own source of income.
DO YOU HAVE A MESSAGE FOR THE TEAM AT PATHFINDERS?
At PathFinders, you’ll be in good hands. The team helped me a lot and guided me to determine what was best for me, my baby and my family. They helped me when I just didn’t know what to do – I don’t know where I or my baby would be if it wasn’t for PathFinders.
#allchildrenmatter #PF10years #meetourbeneficiaries #returnhome #daughter #guidance #support
Check out director/producer Justin Cheng’s touching documentary Yaya which was released on December 10th to coincide with his Auntie Tessie’s birthday. Yaya explores Justin’s relationship with his Auntie Tessie, a Filipino nanny, who helped raise him and his family at the expense of decades away from hers.
At its core the documentary is about social and economic empowerment for women and how foreign domestic workers contribute to our community.
Click on this link to watch the full documentary:https://youtu.be/
Flu season is approaching and we want to do our best to protect our clients and ourselves. Last week we arranged for the wonderful team at Dedicare (www.dedicare.hk) to come and give pregnant clients, children and our staff flu shots.
In total we provided vaccines for 28 children, 11 pregnant women and 6 staff – 45 shots in total!
Renee was an Access to Healthcare (A2H) intern at PathFinders. She is in her 3rd year of a degree in Medicine at the University of Hong Kong. Thank you Renee for working with the team and for all your hard work!
WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNT FROM THIS INTERNSHIP?
The internship provided a unique opportunity for me to have a deeper understanding of the other side of Hong Kong society. Foreign domestic helpers are an important part of Hong Kong but ironically they are also often a neglected part of society. Many of them are unlawfully dismissed by their employers once they are pregnant. Before the internship, I never imagined there were so many domestic helpers struggling so hard while they were pregnant in Hong Kong. This made me reflect on our attitude towards foreign domestic helpers. We should respect everyone and their choices. We should support and cheer for them and not judge them.
WHAT ACTIVITIES HAVE YOU BEEN PARTICIPATING IN?
Being an intern on the Access to Healthcare team, I was actively involved in various services and had a lot of chances to have direct contact with clients. I accompanied clients to different medical appointments such as hospital visits for pre-natal check ups and ultrasound scans. I realised the importance of PathFinders’ services as without PathFinders, many of our clients would not be able to get any medical support, not even basic pre-natal and post-natal checks. I also helped in the PathFinders Healthcare Centre, where we provide basic checks for clients that are not eligible to any public healthcare services.
HAVING INTERNED WITH PATHFINDERS, WHAT KIND OF CHANGE IN SOCIETY IN TERMS OF HEALTHCARE NEEDS DO YOU HOPE FOR?
I do hope to see more healthcare support from the government for various minorities group in Hong Kong. Some of the foreign domestic helpers whose contracts are unlawfully terminated are not eligible for public healthcare services in Hong Kong. The government could consider cooperating with various NGOs in Hong Kong to provide basic healthcare services so as to bridge the gap between public healthcare services and this at times isolated group. No one should be denied healthcare services as it is one of the basic needs of humans.
#allchildrenmatter #intern #A2H #change #fdw #internship #healthcare
To celebrate our 10th birthday last week (November 20th, 2018) we launched our new Chinese name and logo.
Since the start of 2018 we’ve donated almost 3,000kg of supplies to our clients and their children.
With winter coming we are in need of warm baby clothes – in particular, rompers (for under 2 years), baby blankets, warm maternity wear for mothers, and shoes for both mums and babies. Other useful items such as feeding bottles, bottle warmers, nappies and cotton wipes, baby wipes, baby food (not expired) and baby carriers are accepted throughout the year.
This short, touching video captures how PathFinders works with clients to ensure that their children are visible and afforded the respect, protection and fair treatment that every child born in Hong Kong deserves.
We hope you enjoy watching it as much as we enjoyed making it!
We were excited to launch a series of client portraits at our 10-year anniversary fundraising dinner in Hong Kong on November 2nd. We worked with esteemed photographer Julia Broad to create an intimate, heartfelt and uplifting series of photographs showcasing the journey we embark on with our clients from when they first find out they’re pregnant to when their baby is born because #allchildrenmatter.
Kenneth Lee was an Access to Justice (A2J) summer intern who has interned at PathFinders twice. He is in his second year of his Juris Doctor degree at the University of Hong Kong. Thank you Kenneth for working with the team again and for all your hard work and enthusiasm!
What have you learned from this internship?
I once overheard someone saying that it was difficult to describe what PathFinders does in a nutshell. And it’s true. PathFinders’ clients can be in extraordinarily complicated matrimonial, employment, and immigration situations. But that is a reminder that when migrant domestic workers come to Hong Kong and become indispensable pillars of care for tens of thousands of households in this city, they are not merely workers.
During my internship, it was heartwarming to see so many people in Hong Kong advocating for the wellbeing of children born here to migrant mothers. Like every other child born here, these babies deserve to have an identity and access to healthcare, education, and opportunity.
What activities have you been participating in?
During my time at PathFinders, I drafted documents and legal research notes for the Access to Justice team. The process made me realize the various flaws Hong Kong law and policy has with regards to employment, immigration, and children. I shadowed weekly meetings with case managers, where I got a sense of how they worked with clients and what were the recurring issues that clients would face.
Furthermore, I assisted with PathFinders’ public consultation initiatives at LegCo, attended a press conference on a report by the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination on Hong Kong and China, and drafted talking points for a conference hosted by the Equal Opportunities Commission.
I was also put on the spot many times when I called government agencies such as the Hospital Authority and the Labour Department to follow up on the progress of inquiries and documents for clients. At times I got to accompany clients to the Immigration Department to offer emotional support. This provided me an opportunity to chat, know the clients better on a personal level, and to experience first-hand the difficulties they encounter and the worries they face when interacting with government agencies.
The most memorable task I did was helping case managers assemble racks and organize baby boxes and clothes! It certainly increased a huge amount of floor space in the PathFinders’ office and I hope it helps our clients more easily access the supplies they need!
Having interned at PathFinders twice now, what kind of change in society do you hope for?
Aging demographics and dual working households mean that the number of people on foreign domestic helper visas is expected to rise to 600,000 in the next thirty years. Hong Kong should carefully consider how best to ensure that these workers are properly treated and protected.
And while NGOs like PathFinders and compassionate Hongkongers do their best to be a stopgap for now, the Hong Kong government should work now to plug the existing social welfare and other gaps experienced by this ultra-vulnerable population of babies, children and women in our city before the numbers become overwhelming.