World Humanitarian Day
Posted by Peter MUIR
Every minute, 8 people are forced to flee their homes to escape war, persecution or terror. These refugees are people like you, people like me – except they had to leave everything behind to save their life.
The United Nations’ (UN) World Humanitarian Day is held on 19 August each year. World Humanitarian Day is also an opportunity to celebrate the spirit that inspires humanitarian work around the globe. This World Humanitarian Day, the UN and its partners are calling for global solidarity with the more than 130 million people around the world who need humanitarian assistance to survive. Under the theme of ‘One Humanity’, World Humanitarian Day will highlight how the world came together in Istanbul for the World Humanitarian Summit earlier this year, and made commitments to support people affected by crisis and ensure that aid workers can safely and more effectively deliver to those in need. Since 2004 Christian Action’s Centre for Refugees has been serving the unserved through many difficult and challenging periods of their lives.
Our team of volunteers, staff and supporters are what keeps this wonderful Centre ticking day in and day out. Today, we salute you and share our admiration and gratitude for all that you have done to support the remarkable number of people who have walked through our doors these 12 years.
We have had the pleasure of being in touch with many refugees who have been resettled and gone on to lead successful and fulfilling lives. Many are so grateful and still hold Hong Kong close to their hearts, especially this center of ours and the amazing people they met over the years.
As we approach World Humanitarian Day, we ask that you continue to work with us to give a little hope to our refugees. The families and individuals we mention below are especially vulnerable and would greatly benefit from your support. Please consider how you can get involved in supporting these people as a part of your CAS or Community Engagement.
- A single male from East Africa arrived in 2009 to seek protection from HK due to ethnic persecution back home. He is truly vulnerable due to a number of medical conditions (unmanageable diabetes, tuberculosis and skin problems) which is being managed by the local hospitals. He had lost half of his body weight since his arrival and is struggling to go about daily chores due to his weak physique. He is under medication and needs to go to the clinic or hospital every day to receive treatment. Due to his condition, he is unable to share a room with another refugee but he cannot afford to have his own place without help from others.
- A family of 3 from East Africa is suffering from depression and suicidal ideation due to the trauma they endured. The father’s brother was killed in civil war and he himself was later abducted by a rebel group & imprisoned for several months. What he encountered during his imprisonment still remains fresh in his memory. Both parents are under our Psychosocial Programme and are taking medications.
- A family of 4 from a Middle Eastern country left their home due to religious persecution. Their daughter was abducted back home and is slowly getting over her traumatic experience thanks to our Psychosocial Programme where she has a dedicated counselor. To ensure that she feels safe, our Center, together with another agency, found them a decent housing location but there is a rental gap each month. In December 2015, the HK Government substantiated their case and granted them protection.
- A family of four from a Middle Eastern country who are victims of bombing and raids are severely traumatized and isolated. The lack of movement and social interaction has had severe psychosomatic effects on the mother, who has had 3 miscarriages since their arrival in HK. Their private sponsor recently left HK and is no longer able to support them.
- A single mother from a Middle Eastern country with 3 daughters was tortured and threatened to be killed before fleeing, and has also endured domestic violence for many years. She is now separated from her husband and struggling to overcome her trauma while taking care of her 3 children on her own. Not having the financial means to deal with the growing needs of her 3 daughters in an expensive city is not easy.
- A young and aspiring runner from war-torn Somalia needs your help to continue to train, as this is his way of effectively coping with his depression; running gives him a much needed escape from the memories of his war torn country and experience of abuse at the hands of religious extremists. He has won numerous competitions to date, and maintains a strict training and dietary regiment to pursue professional running in the future.
- A newly arrived former human rights activist from South Asia bears the signs of the torture he experienced back home as a result of his involvement in a high profile political case. Fearing for his life, he fled to Nepal where he initially sought asylum. He was granted refugee status and protection by the UNHCR, but eventually found his way to HK where it is safer for him. We hope to help him work around his trauma under our Psychosocial Programme but his immediate need is to cover his rental gap.
- A vulnerable man from South Asia who has been in HK for nearly a decade is suffering from depression, isolation and hopelessness. He is a victim of religious hate crime involving physical assault and other forms of harassment both back home and in HK. We are hoping to find him a suitable room that is clean, safe, and located near the Centre so he can continue to access necessary services. He is under our Psychosocial Programme for 3 years now and we are hoping that he would continue his progress but this worry is quite heavy on his shoulders.
- An elderly man and his son from a conflict-torn country in South Asia fled due to political persecution. They have been in HK for over 6 years. The elderly man is suffering from multiple medical conditions and has had a major surgery done last year but is still suffering from other conditions; he has a very poor physical and mental health. Both have been granted refugee status and have started their resettlement application, but the process can take many months to complete.
- A single mother of 6 children and 1 grand daughter was abandoned by her husband a few years ago, leaving the care of the children with her. She is struggling to make ends meet daily and is always struggling to pay their basic utility bills and provide for extra support to her children who are all attending school. With her poor health and poor language skills, she is stressed every single day.