Listen to Her: Migrant Mothers' Stories

Listen To Her is an unique online series of voice messages recorded by migrant mothers, who are current/former foreign domestic workers in Hong Kong. They tell their stories of how their lives have changed after finding out that they're pregnant. These mothers experience some of the worst circumstances: becoming pregnant unexpectedly, losing their job due to pregnancy, and being stranded abroad due to COVID lockdown. We invite the public to listen to their voices. 

Click here to listen: Sarah's Story

After Sarah became pregnant, her employer became very angry, ordered her to do heavy work and at times punished her by making food inaccessible. Sarah wanted to return to the Philippines to give birth but the Covid-19 restrictions rendered her stranded in Hong Kong without a home. PathFinders is providing her with a safe place to stay at our shelter before she can return home with her baby.

 

Click here to listen: Widi's Story

Widi had worked as a foreign domestic helper taking care of a baby in a Hong Kong family for almost two years, but when COVID-19 hit the economy, her employer decided to have a family member take care of the baby instead. Afterwards, Widi found a new job through an agency. Yet, just when she had to visit the Immigration Department to attain a new work visa, she felt unwell and discovered she was pregnant. Her boyfriend didn't want to have the baby and urged her to get an abortion. Too scared to tell the news to the agency and her future employer, she went into hiding in a boarding house. Her savings was soon gone after paying for food, accommodation, doctor visits and sending money back to her Indonesian family. Penniless, she heard from a friend that she could seek help from PathFinders. By that time she had already overstayed for two weeks. With the assistance and encouragement from PathFinders' Case Manager, she surrendered and moved into PathFinders' shelter. She is eager to return to her home country to be reunited with her family, however the plane ticket cost has skyrocketed and she cannot afford it. On the day of this voice recording, Widi expressed that her mom was critically ill and she hoped to get home as soon as possible to spend the last moments together. Heartbreakingly, soon after the recording was over, Widi received a text message and found out her mom had just passed away.

Click here to listen: Alexandria's Story

Alexandria found out her pregnancy at a time when her home country the Philippines was enforcing a COVID-19 lock down. Now nine months pregnant, she is staying at PathFinders' shelter and hopes to unite with her family after giving birth.

Despite legal protections, once a FDW's pregnancy is announced or discovered, many of these expectant mothers are unlawfully fired, pressured to leave or resign because they, and their employers, simply don't know what else to do. A pregnant FDW faces substantial obstacles and hardships when her employment is terminated. She immediately becomes homeless and within two weeks, when her work visa expires, loses access to public welfare and healthcare services vital for prenatal screening. For those unable to return home, for fear of persecution by family and friends for being an unemployed, single mother with a mixed race child, their children are typically undocumented, stateless and lack access to essential services including medical care and immunisations, shelter and education. Often destitute, these babies and their mothers are among the most vulnerable and under-served in Hong Kong.

If you are touched by Sarah, Widi and Alexandria's stories, please consider making a donation to PathFinders via our urgent crowdfunding campaign to ensure we can continue to help those in need.The children and women we serve need our help and protection now more than ever. If PathFinders is not able to help them, no one is. 

Like many charities in Hong Kong, the socio-political unrest and ongoing COVID-19 crisis has had a profound impact on our fundraising. We will not be able to hold our annual Fundraising Dinner - which was set to raise HKD3million - so we’ve already made significant budget cuts this year. Without additional donations to help bridge our funding gaps, we face scaling back our essential client services, as well as community outreach and education activities which are vital to prevent migrant mothers and their babies from falling into crisis. 

From Jan to Apr we experienced an 80% increase in calls to our crisis hotline, and so far this year we have seen a 32% increase in new cases. Our five Case Managers are well over capacity, juggling more than 170 open cases involving over 200 children. Feedback from our beneficiaries also shows increased challenges accessing basic supplies and food. Please help us to bridge current funding gaps, so we can continue to bridge the gaps in Hong Kong society where babies go undocumented and unprotected. 100% of funds raised will go towards essential services, our Community Centre, empowerment work and other critical expenses. Receipts will be issued by PathFinders 6-8 weeks following donation. On behalf of the babies, children and women we serve, thank you so much for your generosity.


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