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Meet PathFinders’ Access to Justice volunteers

Vivian Yeung, law student at HKU and legal intern

Why PathFinders?
I’ve always felt a deep appreciation for the migrant workers who leave their own counties behind to help us out here in HK and without whom the city would not be anywhere near as vibrant as it is today. Yet there is not nearly enough support for these workers when they are at their most vulnerable. I felt PathFinders would be the ideal organisation to contribute my skills as a law student – and everyone here seemed so friendly and welcoming.

Can you tell us about your role with PathFinders?
I joined the Access for Justice team at PathFinders as part of a human rights course I was taking at HKU. I had two roles: first, to design and teach four interactive lessons on street law to migrant mothers, and secondly, to help out at the PathFinders office every week on various client matters.

What have you gained from the experience?
As I frequently took part in client meetings, I was able to hear the stories of each individual and chat with them, which was entirely different from just learning about their situation from the news and case files. This helped me understand the substantive issues they faced.

In designing and teaching lessons, I realised the importance of distilling complicated legal concepts into easily understandable and interesting games and activities that everyone would remember. Seeing the adorable children of our clients and class participants is a plus!

Can you tell us about your proudest moment or happiest memory at PathFinders?
I’ll always remember one moment from when our final Street Law lesson ended. One of the participants, who had attended every single class, thanked us for teaching legal concepts that they otherwise would not have learned in their hometown, or even in Hong Kong. Holding her baby, she said she came to these classes because she wanted to be able to teach her child about law eventually. We were extremely touched, because she had inadvertently outlined exactly our aims – to empower migrant mothers with knowledge and for them to pass it on.

 

Malin Emilson, lawyer and legal volunteer

Why PathFinders?
Being a mother myself, my first priority is always the well being of children, not only my own. All children deserve a chance to grow up in a healthy and safe environment. Pathfinders is unique to me in that perspective, we focus on the most vulnerable children and their mothers.

What have you gained from the experience?
I have gained a deepened understanding of the struggles and very difficult live situation of many migrant children and their mothers and that Pathfinders determined work is making a difference for many. We do not give up.

Can you tell us about your proudest moment or happiest memory at PathFinders?
Connecting with people from different walks of life is amazing. Mothers, lawyers, children, volunteers, we all matter and every meeting is deeply touching and important.


Netra’s story

Netra spent the first four years of her life living without an identity. She had never accessed social services, been to school or received identification. She did not exist. Her mother had been unlawfully terminated from her job when she became pregnant.

After finding PathFinders, a social worker helped Netra’s mum to submit a paternity claim and re-register her father, a Hong Kong Permanent Resident, on Netra’s birth certificate. After a 9 month long process, Netra could access the healthcare and education she was entitled to. Netra’s mother had applied for asylum-seeker status. Having faced these hurdles, PathFinders are thrilled to report that Netra is now healthy and well and attending school – meeting friends, playing with peers and receiving an education!

As we close up our Lunar New Year campaign, you can make a difference to the lives of more children like Netra.

Choose a Lai See


Hot off the Press!

Is increasing your knowledge and understanding one of your new year’s resolutions?

Read about PathFinders’ work, and the legal and policy landscape giving rise to the extraordinary, and often heartbreaking, lives of the babies, children and women PathFinders serves.

These publications were written by PathFinders’ team (Kay McArdle, Luna Chan and Jenny McAlpine) and Professor Hans J. Ladegaard at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University.
To learn more about the publications, and to order a copy, please see below:


PathFinders’ CEO receives David Clarke Social Innovation Fellowship!

The Macquarie Group Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Macquarie Group, has selected PathFinders CEO Kay McArdle as the 2016 Hong Kong winner of the David Clarke Social Innovation Fellowship.

PathFinders submitted a proposal to understand and to benchmark established, innovative and proven organisations providing access to justice; to learn how most effectively to bridge the gap between the NGO and legal sectors; and to learn how to best leverage technology platforms without compromising client support or confidentiality.

She will receive a grant of $HK150,000, to fund a research trip that will allow her to observe best practice in a number of global cities, including Alabama, Bangkok, London, Melbourne, New York, Singapore and Sydney.

The access to justice gap for PathFinders’ clients is acute, as evidenced by our burgeoning access to justice and legal case loads. The Fellowship is a timely and very welcome development. It will enable us to benchmark world class access to justice models, and to learn how best to bridge the gaps without needing to start from scratch. It is good for PathFinders’ clients and ultimately also good for Hong Kong,” said McArdle.

Ben Way, Chair of the Macquarie Group Foundation Committee in Hong Kong, said: On behalf of the committee and our judges in Hong Kong, we are impressed with the high calibre of submissions received this year and I would like to commend all the organisations and individuals who submitted a great range of nominations.”

I personally congratulate PathFinders and Kay McArdle, as well as all our outstanding finalists for their commitment to continuing to develop innovative programs that address social needs and long-term community problems. We particularly liked Kay’s focus on collaborating with other organisations within Hong Kong.

The David Clarke Social Innovation Fellowship, established in 2012 in memory of the Macquarie Group Foundation founding Chairman, David Clarke AO, seeks to encourage individual social innovators to visit and research best practice innovation around the world. The Fellowship is presented biennially and since it was established, the Macquarie Group Foundation has awarded 10 David Clarke Social Innovation Fellowships to non-profit CEOs in Australia, Hong Kong the UK and selected cities in the US.


‘Between a Rock and a Hard Place’ documentary

‘Between a Rock and a Hard Place’, a short documentary film and report by the Progressive Labor Union of Domestic Workers and Hong Kong Federation of Asian Domestic Workers Unions documents the illegal activities of employment agencies in Hong Kong. The film features secret recordings made in agencies in our city.
Many workers have little choice but to pay these exorbitant fees and are heavily indebted, making them incredibly vulnerable.

 

Full report available here: Chinese version, English version.

 

Image source: ‘Between a Rock and a Hard Place’ (CC 3.0 BY license)


CLSA Investors’ Forum

With more humans on the move than ever in our history, no wonder that migration formed the key topic at last month’s UN Summit in New York.

Migration was also a hot economic topic in Hong Kong at the CLSA Investors’ Forum 2016, attended by 1,400 global investors and featuring over 60 speakers including academics Daniela Rus and Robert Gordon, Frank Luntz, actress Drew Barrymore and Nobel-prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz.

PathFinders, Enrich HK and The Helper Documentary spoke about migration. PathFinders is very grateful to CLSA for this opportunity and for their ongoing support via the CLSA Chairman’s Trust.

Click here to read Write-Up.

 


‘Hats On!’ at the 2016 Ladies Long Luncheon!

PathFinders’ board member Kelly Gave hosted the second annual Ladies’ Long Luncheon to raise funds to support our work. We are so grateful!

A super-special thanks to event mastermind and super volunteer Allison Creel. Immense gratitude to all those who attended and to Popsy Modern Kitchen, Quintessentially, Victoria Street, Emma Sherrard Matthew, The Mauve Hour, Cellarmaster Wines, Bella Blu Design, Purearth, Mazu Swimwear.

 

 


PathFinders at Rotary Club

PathFinders were delighted to speak at the Kowloon North Rotary Club about the situation facing vulnerable babies, pregnant migrant women and mothers in Hong Kong! We thank the Club for their kind invitation and warm welcome.