Meet our Intern – TIN YI LAU
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.