At PathFinders, we’d like to send a big THANK YOU to our donors and partners for supporting our vision and mission of every child in HK receiving a fair start in life! We’re looking forward to all the ways we can do even more for the children and women we serve in the year of the rat!! We wish all families a happy, healthy and prosperous new year!
In this new year, PathFinders will continue to strengthen collaborative work with ALL stakeholders – FDWs, employers, employment agencies, policy-makers, academics, the community, mass media and other partners. To see the number of children and women falling into crisis decrease, we need to increasingly focus on prevention by raising further awareness, providing education and offering practical guidance to both FDWs and employers. Below is a highlight of the THREE NEW PROJECTS we are focusing on this year.
Train the Trainers for Foreign Domestic Workers
After more than a decade of meeting the needs of mothers, babies and children in crisis, we are increasing our focus on trying to prevent the root-causes of crisis. We are continuing to deliver education to the FDW community with our key strategic partners – like the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC), International Organisation for Migration (IOM), Indonesian Consulate and Philippines Consulate.
In addition, to establish a sustainable community outreach model that is led and delivered by FDWs for FDWs, we are empowering FDW community leaders through our Train the Trainers workshops with knowledge, information and skills training to expand our outreach, amplify our messages and sign post our services.
Our Train the Trainers workshops empower and mobilise FDWs as trained Ambassadors to educate other FDWs about Maternity Protection and the importance of making well-informed life decisions whilst working in HK. Each Ambassador is provided with bespoke training to enable them to professionally deliver PathFinders’ messages with confidence, accurately, confidentially and in a way that is culture sensitive. Ambassadors are then mobilised with tailored materials to hold outreach events and workshops within the community, and required to regularly update their PathFinders Manager on sessions conducted, numbers of participants reached and to provide evaluation highlights. Collectively these new Ambassadors can reach wider and deeper than the PF team within the FDW community, helping us to scale our outreach.
Employer and Employment Agency Outreach
Although pivotal, employers and employment agencies have been relatively unreached by PathFinders over the past decade, as we primarily needed to focus on meeting the needs of those in crisis. Now, with Client Services well established and recognising a need to offer practical guidance to employers on how a FDW’s pregnancy should be successfully managed in the best interest of the child, we have launched a 3-Step Guide in partnership with Helpwise.
When a FDW’s pregnancy is discovered or announced, often an employer’s initial reaction is one of shock, betrayal and confusion. Their minds race with multiple questions and concerns. She came here to work, why did she get pregnant? My husband and I work full-time. Can she cope with caring for my young children when she is pregnant? How will we manage when she is on maternity leave? These are all very real concerns that without careful thought and planning can result in a FDW being terminated and ultimately her child falling into crisis.
Finding out their FDW is pregnant can create a unique challenge for employers. Both the FDW and their employer are likely experiencing an array of emotions about the future. It often takes a lot of bravery for a FDW to tell her employer she is pregnant. For those whose pregnancies were planned, it can be a joyous anticipation. But for many others, love scams and the lack of reproductive health knowledge can lead to a FDW’s unexpected pregnancy. When that happens, the FDW may share the employer’s feelings of confusion or anxiety. ‘My Helper is Pregnant’: 3-Step Guide For Employers, our practical step-by-step guide seeks to support employers through their emotions and onto a path that gives them, their helper, and their household the solutions they need.
Home Country Integration Programme
For many FDW mothers, returning home as a single, unemployed mother with a mixed-race child can be a daunting prospect. To avoid the fear and potential persecution of returning home, some choose to overstay – becoming a hidden part of our society with no access to public services. Others seek asylum to access very minimal social welfare support, but an uncertain future for themselves and their child.
Currently in Hong Kong there are hundreds of children born to former FDWs who are seeking asylum. Some of these children have been in HK for many years while they wait on the appeal process. This process is likely to speed up in the near future. With less than 1% of asylum cases being approved, these children, who have never visited their mother’s home country or speak their mother’s tongue, will, sooner or later, face deportation often with little notice.
To identify, support and assist the mothers and children who are swept up in this process and ensure they are physically and emotionally equipped to make their journey home with confidence, we are further expanding and strengthening our relationships with key strategic partners. We are collaborating with the UNHCR and multiple HK based NGO partners to identify and assist these mothers and their children while they remain in HK, and with the IOM and in-country NGO partners to provide assistance and services on their return home, such as temporary accommodation and family mediation.
To find out more, or to get involved in our existing and new projects, please get in touch at info@PathFinders.org.hk.
Written by Vivian Cheung, Legal Case Manager of PathFinders
Today is Universal Children’s Day, an important date signifying the world’s commitment to protect all children.
60 years ago, on 20 November 1959, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Declaration of the Rights of the Child, which recognises, among other rights, children’s rights to education, play, a supportive environment and health care.
30 years ago, on 20 November 1989, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (the Convention) took effect as the first comprehensive document setting out the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of all children regardless of their ethnicity, gender, religion, language, abilities or any other status. It also sets out how adults and governments should act together to protect the rights of children. With 196 state parties, including Hong Kong who ratified it in 1994, the Convention is the most widely ratified human rights treaty in history.
At PathFinders, we believe these rights should be protected and respected, and that all children should have a fair start to life. Sadly, the majority of children born to Foreign Domestic Workers (FDWs) are often deprived of their basic human rights (including the right to timely birth registration, education and health, family life, and access to justice) because of their immigration status. Unless one of their parents is a permanent resident in Hong Kong, they are not be entitled to permanent residency. Some FDW mothers’ contract was terminated when they fell pregnant, and some of them subsequently overstayed and sought asylum due to a fear of returning to their home country with a child born out of wedlock. For the mothers who are still in their employment contract, their children can only remain for the duration of such contract (each lasts two years), and as their mothers are required to live with their employers who have no obligation to house the children, arrangements for their care become very challenging.
PathFinders has a passionate, non-judgmental, dedicated team to help these children and their FDW mothers in desperate need, to overcome financial constraints and language barrier, obtain birth certificates and proper documentation, access the courts and healthcare, and receive necessary vaccinations as well as education. We also educate and guide the FDW mothers from when they become pregnant of their maternity rights and options so as to empower them to make the best decision and choose the best path for their children.
Today is the day to celebrate the advancement the world has achieved for all children. However, it is also a day to remember there are still children in Hong Kong who might yet to have their rights realised, and we should do more to protect them.
The World Mental Health Month, held in October each year, gives us an opportunity to raise awareness about mental health.
This year, PathFinders supported the Green Ribbon Campaign organised by the OCD & Anxiety Support Hong Kong (OCDAHK). Green is the colour of mental health and represents balance, strength, and hope. Wearing green reassures sufferers that they are not alone and breaks down stigma associated with mental illness.
Lisa Ringner-Näckter, Access to Healthcare Programme Manager of PathFinders, said, “Due to all the struggles that our clients are facing, their mental health is often compromised. We’d like help them by early intervention and follow up arrangements with external professionals if needed. When we spot a client is at risk of depression, we offer to take her to Maternal and Child Health Centre for follow ups.”
“To help those with no access to public healthcare, we collaborate with Central Health Medical Practice and receive valuable guidance from Mind HK. The Follow ups are crucial not only for the mother, but also for her to be able to look after her newborn child,” she said.
On August 25th, 2019, the first participants of our “Train The Trainers” for Foreign Domestic Workers (FDWs) Programme successfully completed their training to become PathFinders’ ambassadors in the FDWs community.
Recently launched by our Community Engagement team, the aim of the Programme is to equip FDWs with key knowledge on love scams, maternity rights and prevention of unplanned pregnancy, as well as effective communication skills, so that they can reach out and support the wider FDWs community with crucial and accurate information for making well-informed decisions.
In the final session of the 6-hour training, we were honoured to have Virgilio Lumicao, associate editor of The SUN HK, Catherine Gurtin, our CEO and Lara Fabregas, our Board Member, as our panelists who provided feedback on the participants’ presentation on what they had learnt.
Our new ambassadors, many of whom key leaders in migrant worker groups and initiatives in Hong Kong, will continue to receive our guidance in their endeavours to engage, educate and empower fellow FDWs through outreach activities.
PathFinders invites applications for a Fundraising & Events Intern. This is an ongoing position, applications will be accepted on a rolling basis.
ABOUT THE FUNDRAISING & EVENTS TEAM
PathFinders’ Fundraising & Events (FR&E) team is responsible for managing donor relations, sourcing new funding and support for our services, and coordinating fundraising and CSR events. The FR&E team is seeking enthusiastic and pragmatic interns to work closely with the wider PathFinders team on various fundraising initiatives and events, most notably our 11th Anniversary Fundraising Dinner this November, our largest annual fundraising event generating a significant portion of our income. Our theme this year is ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll’.
ROLE & RESPONSIBILITIES
- Assist in planning and preparations for the 11th Anniversary Fundraising Dinner
- Donor research of local and global corporates, foundations and other potential donors, and identify new funding sources and partnerships.
- Learning how to use Salesforce which is common software in a corporate operation
- Support and coordinate fundraising, CSR and community events
- Prepare and coordinate fundraising and donor communications materials, including slide decks, newsletters, social media and blog
- Provide administrative support to the FR&E team
- Support other PathFinders projects as needed
NECESSARY SKILLS & QUALIFICATIONS
- A demonstrated interest in the social sector, philanthropy, NGOs, corporate social responsibility, fundraising or events. Previous experience is desirable
- Able to work independently with limited supervision, and in a team environment
- Strong research, organisational and administrative skills
- Fluency in English, with excellent verbal and written communications skills
- Your own computer, with Microsoft Office (or compatible) suite
- Knowledge of Cantonese, Bahasa Indonesian and/or Tagalog would also be an advantage
- Design or graphic design skills would also be an advantage
- Be comfortable with, and committed to, operating within PathFinders’ core values: non-judgmental, respectful, passionate, courageous, empathetic, discreet, collaborative; and
- Hold a HKID, valid visa or be eligible to apply for a working student or training visa. Students who are not permanent Hong Kong residents should refer to the conditions for taking up employment in Hong Kong. A breach of any condition will render them liable to prosecution and removal from Hong Kong under the Immigration Ordinance.
- This is a full or part time position, with a minimum commitment of 10-12 hours/week for 8 weeks
- Applicants should be willing to work flexible hours to accommodate events
- The internship will be based predominantly at PathFinders’ offices at Worldwide Centre, 123 Tung Chau Street, Tai Kok Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong. Travel within Hong Kong is expected for events and to attend various meetings
- This is an unpaid internship unless the applicant falls outside the exceptions in the Minimum Wage Ordinance. Reasonable travel expenses while on PathFinders’ business will be reimbursed
- Interested applicants should send a Letter of Interest, Curriculum Vitae and availability (dates) by email, with the subject “F&E Internship Application: [full name]”, addressed to Ashlee Schroth, Events Manager, at Ashlee.firstname.lastname@example.org
- Shortlisted candidates will be notified by email and invited for interview
- If you do not back from us within 4 weeks of submitting your application, please assume your application has been unsuccessful
PathFinders is a committed equal opportunities employer. PathFinders Limited is non-partisan and non-religious.
Data sent by you to PathFinders Limited in connection with this application will be retained by PathFinders for 6 months after the hiring process is complete. All information and personal data provided by applicants as part of this recruitment process will be treated in confidence and used for recruiting for these internships roles only.
Tika Rana from The Faculty of Medicine at The Nethersole School of Nursing at The Chinese University of Hong Kong 香港中文大學 – CUHKled an informative free health talk on cervical cancer for our beneficiaries, providing them with an opportunity to learn more about cancer, the importance of screening on a regular basis for early detection, and screening facilities in Hong Kong.
Cervical cancer is the 7th most common cancer amongst females and the 9th leading cause of female cancer deaths in Hong Kong. To find out more, please visit http://minorityhealth.nur.cuhk.edu.hk/.
Thank you so much Tika for your invaluable time and information provided!
Stay healthy and promote prevention of chronic diseases.
In this edition of our Meet our Intern series, say hi to Seojin Park, a second year Columbia Law School student who worked at PathFinders for 10 weeks over the summer. Seojin saw first hand the resilience and love beneficiaries had for their babies and, in her capacity as an Access to Justice Intern, participated in a range of events including PathFinders’ weekly Open Legal Clinic and Case Manager meetings. She also helped draft petitions for visa extensions and complaints for employment-related administrative agencies.
Seojin hopes to see the world become a safer place for women and children. With the number of economic migrants rising, she hopes that societies have more robust social safety nets in place.
WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNT FROM THIS INTERNSHIP?
The legal advocacy skill I learned from PathFinders is only a small part. From the very first day, I learned how foreign domestic workers live in Hong Kong and how many hurdles they have to overcome in Hong Kong. Despite the challenges PathFinders clients face, their resilience and love for their babies inspired me on a daily basis. While some injustices that ordinary citizens inflict on their domestic workers was upsetting to learn about, PathFinders’ work, staff, and its clients reminded me of what is beautiful in this world we live in.
WHAT ACTIVITIES HAVE YOU BEEN PARTICIPATING IN?
I accompanied my clients to various administrative meetings at the Equal Opportunities Commission, the labour department, and the immigration department to name a few.
Often, I drafted petitions for visa extensions and complaints for employment-related administrative agencies. To gather information, I sometimes messaged with clients who were abroad. On other occasions, I met clients in person and received their direct input in working on these activities.
Lastly, I participated in a host of other events at PathFinders from weekly Open Legal Clinics, monthly case managers meetings, to informational lunches with other NGOs from Hong Kong and around the world.
WHAT KIND OF CHANGE IN SOCIETY DO YOU HOPE FOR?
I want the world to be a safer place for women and children. As there are more and more economic migrants, I also hope that societies have more robust social safety nets for migrants. I hope for a society where citizens appreciate democratic values and equality of all people.
#allchildrenmatter #intern #accesstojustice #law #legal #mother #child #change #fdw #internship
In this Meet our Intern edition, say hi to Tin Yi Lau! Tin Yi is a 3rd year student at National University of Singapore studying Law. She joined PathFinders’ Access to Justice Team for 6 weeks and quickly realised the seriousness of the problem faced by pregnant domestic workers in Hong Kong. She enjoyed the work because clients came to PathFinders with different issues and Tin Yi was able to learn about various areas of law such as immigration, discrimination and family law.
Tin Yi hopes for a society where everyone understands their rights and, at the same time, respect the rights of others.
What have you learnt from this internship?
Through the internship, I learnt that the work done by an NGO like PathFinders is important because it could be the only source of support available to our clients. Foreign domestic workers who get pregnant during their course of employment may be subject to harsh treatment by their employers and shame by their family. This may be further exacerbated in cases where they are unaware of their rights and are unlawfully terminated by their employers, causing them to lose income and accommodation. Sometimes, this leads to these individuals becoming illegal overstayers who may not be able to adequately protect themselves and their children. Without support from their family and friends,PathFinders is important in providing them with support and advice with regards to healthcare or legal issues they find themselves entangled in.
More specifically, this internship allowed me to see the effects of policy making manifesting as dilemmas faced by foreign domestic workers in Hong Kong, especially when they are pregnant. My stint at PathFinders made me recognise the seriousness of the problem faced by pregnant domestic workers in Hong Kong and that they can become very vulnerable individuals when they do not receive the support of their family and their employers. This made me appreciate the work done by PathFinders as the whole organisation has dedicated itself to helping migrant mothers and their children.
What activities have you been participating in?
As an A2J intern, I assisted the legal case managers in supporting clients by explaining their rights and obligations to them as well as helping them pursue or defend their legal claims.
The work was interesting because clients came to PathFinders with different issues and I could learn about various areas of law such as immigration, discrimination and family law. In addition, I was also given the opportunity to sit in on client meetings and accompany clients to different government departments, such as the Castle Peak Immigration Centre and the Birth Registry. These experiences allowed me to learn more about the difficulties faced by foreign domestic workers as they try to solve their problems, such as having to face language barriers or unreasonable discrimination.
What kind of change in society do you hope for?
I hope for a society where everyone understands their rights and, at the same time, respect the rights of others. It is unsurprising that some individuals are unaware of certain rights they have and are thus unable to protect themselves. However, the advent of technology, particularly smartphones, has made information and help easier to seek. Together with the rise of advocacy groups, more individuals are now more empowered.
Welcome back to PathFinders, Kristina Zebua! Kristina re-joined us in July as Community Education Manager and has worked in the migrant community for over 15 years including at Christian Action for 10 years.
She was previously a Case Manager at PathFinders from 2012-2015 so is a familiar face to many around the office!
In this edition of our new “Meet our Team” Q&A meet Co-Director of Services Carmen Lam. Carmen has been at PathFinders for 7 years and leads our Community Education and Outreach team. Her motto in life is “making the world a better place” and her favourite quote is from Mahatma Gandhi : “My Life is My Message”.
- WHAT IS YOUR ROLE AT PATHFINDERS?
My role is overseeing the development, strategic planning and execution of our Community Engagement, Home Country Integration, Education and Supplies programmes.
- WHAT DOES A TYPICAL DAY AT PATHFINDERS LOOK LIKE IN YOUR ROLE?
Each day is so varied but typically I am monitoring the execution of each programme to align with our organisation’s development. I often engage with external partners for service development, monitoring grants and funding reports and I also provide guidance to the team to ensure our programmes are meeting the needs of the clients and community.
- WHAT DO YOU ENJOY ABOUT YOUR JOB?
I love seeing positive social change and solving social issues – that’s why I like that the organisation is called “path” finders. We are here to help our beneficiaries find a sustainable path and get back on their feet. As the saying goes, “Don’t give a man a fish. Teach him how to fish instead’. This goes a long way and is what I enjoy doing through my job. My motto is “making the world a better place”. It is my privilege to be part of the catalyst and part of the change empowering everyone in the community, especially foreign domestic workers. I believe all human beings have the potential to grow when they’re guided in the right direction.
- DO YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE FOR ANYONE LOOKING TO WORK AT AN NGO?
Find your passion and do it with compassion. At an NGO it is not about financial gains. It is about how much you would like to contribute to making change in this world, positively impacting the lives of others. You need to lead by example by treating others with respect, kindness and empathy, empowering and enabling other people to grow and shine.
- CAN YOU SHARE A STORY ABOUT HOW YOUR WORK DIRECTLY IMPACTS PATHFINDERS’ CLIENTS?
Seeing a former client breaking through a vicious cycle from an abusive relationship for 5 years when she decided to move on and return home with her children to Indonesia. The was not an easy decision but she was brave enough to do that for herself and her children. It also inspired me as no matter what kind of circumstance or predicament you are in right now, you can always take control of your life and have a bright future. Don’t be afraid!
- WHAT DO YOU ENJOY DOING IN YOUR SPARE TIME?
I love watching movies, playing guitar, listening to music and dancing, and hanging out with my dearest friends and family. I have a minor degree in music and psychology, and used to play in a jazz band when I was in college. I also looooooooooove watching comedies. Life is just too serious sometimes. We all need a little bit of laughter, joy and happiness in life.
*Carmen is standing at the back of the photo.
#meetourteam #communityeducation #outreach #change #NGO #impact #passion #compassion #FDW #empower