Blog Tag: Social justice
Posted by Peter MUIR
Conflict Crate is a monthly subscription box that delivers socially conscious products. We source responsible, honest, & charitable brands and put them in a box to be delivered to our subscribers. It was developed with the specific intention of supporting communities in Boliva. Not only does it provide a source of income by purchasing products made by these people, 20% of our profits to support children in Bolivia. In the word of founder Bethany Pyles, “I truly believe that together we are a force for good. The movement towards an expanding socially conscious consumer lifestyle is growing!”
How might your CAS / Community Engagement involve social entrepreneurship? How could you develop opportunities for others?
Posted by Peter MUIR
This week, DC’s Amnesty International Club will be hosting the following range of activities to raise awareness regarding the issue of caged homes in Hong Kong.
– Throughout the week, students will have access to a life sized caged home located in the main entrance hall.
*Please be warned to take care when interacting with the installation and as it is fragile*
– We will be hosting letter writing workshop/competition (with prizes involved) in room 2304 during Wednesday Lunch. (Participation might be able to be included in your CE portfolio for students in years 7-8)
– During block 5 on Friday, a representative from the ‘Society for Community Organization‘ will be giving a talk regarding the issue of (as well as solutions to) caged homes in Hong Kong.
– At lunch on Friday, we will be screening a short 20 to 25 minute, film created by us. Students are highly encouraged to attend.
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.
Posted by Peter MUIR
Here is a report from Year 9 student Summer Chiu, who along with fellow Year 9 students Man Yiu Tang, Sharon Jone, Karina Chan, took part in a street sleeping experience to take a glimpse at what it would be like to be homeless in HK.
In this activity, we were to experience a day in the life of a street sleeper.
We started off by doing some volunteering with a man called Ming Gor, who is involved in a programme of delivering cheap or free food to those in need. The meal boxes that we gave out to the single elderly and the street sleepers are actually prepared and organized by Ming Gor’s restaurant. He also sells cheap meals to the residents for about $16 per meal. During our chat with Ming Gor, he told us about his hard time running his restaurant because of the high rent fees. When he realized that he earned enough and is able to help others, he started giving out free meal boxes to street sleepers and the single elderly. He is able to make everybody unite and come together to help the poor. He is able to care for a lot of people in Sham Shui Po all at once. We can all feel the warmth and kindness that he have just to help other people.
As we were on our way back from giving out meal boxes to elderly, we passed by a street where some homeless lived. The workers who accompanied us said that some of these sleepers are Vietnamese, Mainlanders, and some are from Hong Kong. When we walked by this place and observed the surroundings, we realized that they don’t have much but the abandoned things that people used to use, which many others would call garbage. When they feel hungry and have no money, they often pick up any other food remains outside of restaurants which are very unhygienic. Some street sleepers can afford to live in a split home, but rather not because in the split homes, even though there is shelter, it is a incredibly small place to live and there are usually unhygienic environments.
We arrived at Tsim Sha Tsui around 10 o’clock, and went to the harbour of the Cultural Museum and enjoyed our break by looking at the beautiful city of Hong Kong. After that, Kate and Stephen have prepared an activity, which was a discussion about the homeless. We played different roles in the discussion: the government, Sham Shui Po residents, Social workers and the homeless, to share different perspectives about the homeless in the streets. Through the discussion, we saw that the government only puts little resources to help the homeless, but would rather spend large amount of money for environmental ornamentation, such as concrete flower pots and the pets garden, in order to avoid the street sleepers from occupying public areas.
We tried to find a place to sleep as there were uneven walls and there are lots of other people chatting very loudly around the area. Next we decided to go to McDonald’s to get ready for bed. We then found relatively clean paper boxes on our way out of McDonald’s which is next to the rubbish bin, and tore them apart so we could use it.
During our sleep, there were lots of things happening around us. It started raining but luckily, it stopped after 5 mins. All the lights are turned off in the area that we slept in, so we weren’t blinded by the lights. At 3 o’clock at night a bunch of young men rode bikes and play tricks with them in our area. According to Stephen, they did nothing to try avoid running over us and they nearly ran over our heads. Then we got attacked by flies and wood fleas throughout our sleep. The wind was howling too and we are all very cold.
In the morning, we all woke up at around 5am in the morning. All night, we were sleeping on the hard ground and having only 1-2 hours of sleep because of the distractions. After a debriefing, we were able to go back home and enjoy our sleep!
It was a very meaningful, precious but exhausting experience. Of course, we did have fun and have learnt something new!
Posted by Peter MUIR
Mission for Migrant Workers, Hong Kong’s first service and advocacy institution for migrants, and Bethune House, who support foreign domestic workers in distress from their victimized and vulnerable situation, are looking for support to host some upcoming events and on-going programmes –
a. Give care to Our Care givers- one day free caring Day for Domestic Workers 8 November 2015, 12 – 5pm, Victoria Park 20 December 2015, 9am – 5pm, Chater Garden, Central
b. Bethune House 29 Anniversary celebration – 1 November from 2-4 pm (Sending of invites and follow-up, help on the actual day- set –up, registration and Emcee) and on 22 November for their Photo-exhibit event
c. Volunteers to help in Casework support such as translation, documentation of cases, data base encoding and accompaniment.
d. Write articles for the Migrant Focus, quarterly newsletter of MFMW, cover activities on Sundays. Help in Lay-out (Photoshop, InDesign or PageMaker) or 30 seconds – I minute video production for Mission and Bethune House promotion.
e. Help in delivering the handicraft project or conduct English or Cantonese lessons in the shelter
f. Organise a collection-drive for essential health and sanitary items for shelter residents.
For more information, please call 2537-1333 or email email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
Posted by Peter MUIR
On 28th February, 2015, DB Mothers & Friends will be hosting a Chinese New Year luncheon on the beach in Discovery Bay for invited HK beneficiaries and their families who received assistance from DB Mothers & Friends last year. Many of these disadvantaged families would otherwise be unable to enjoy a CNY celebration which is extremely important in Chinese culture.
The plan is to raise money to cover transport costs ($100 per person) and to invite the wider DB Community to attend and contribute food and drinks. The orgnisation is looking for support in setting up and cleaning up after the event, as well as fund raising to help cover event costs and donations of traditional packaged Chinese New Year celebratory cookies and/or sweets/biscuits.
See Mr Muir if you are keen to get involved.
Posted by Peter MUIR
Skateistan is an initiative working in Cambodia and Afghanistan that combines skateboarding with educational outcomes. It is non-political, independent, and inclusive of all ethnicities, religions and social backgrounds. The project provides us with an idea of what can be done by combing sport, creativity and a passion to make a change. This video is a TEDtalk by its founder, who highlights how Skateistan has broken conventions about the role of women in Afghan society, where they can boast the title of the largest sporting organisation open to girls in the country, and the highest participation levels of female skateboarding compared to males in the world.
Posted by Peter MUIR
It was great to see the solidarity and concern expressed by DC students in today’s White Ribbon day – an act to show support for the girls kidnapped in Nigeria. Something to keep in mind though is that such acts of kidnapping in Africa happen a lot more than we realise. According to this article the Boko Haram is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Africa’s slavery crisis.The article reports that that as many as six million Nigerian children had been trafficked at some time in their lives. And it may well be that the we as consumers are purchasing products that come out of the slavery supply chain – children in West Africa are trafficked (that is, kidnapped and forced to work against their will – slavery) to work in the Ivory Coast’s cocoa farms that supply about 40% of the world’s chocolate. As pointed out in the article, there is no guarantee that the chocolate you enjoy has not been produced using young slaves. Other products have slavery in their supply chains; the Slavery Footprint organisation produces a website that will help you work out how many slaves work for you.
Slavery is indeed an issue in Asia, and is present here in Hong Kong. Last December Matthew Friedman, an international human trafficking expert presented information about slavery in Asia and the work being done by groups such as Hong Kong-based Liberty Asia to address it.
If the kidnapping case in Nigeria did not get as much media coverage, what would your response be? Would you be as compelled to do something about it? If you are keen to get involved in doing something about human slavery and be an agent of change, email Mr Muir – email@example.com – to sign up.
Posted by Peter MUIR
The Gamcha Project is an artistic endeavor to inform us about the plight of Indian workers in Dubai. Over a period of 8 months artist Elise Vazelakis collected gamchas, the colourful cloth head scarves worn by Dubai’s labourers, and wove together building site materials, fabric, photographs of the labourers themselves, and other objects, to create art with a message. Vazelakis states “my hope is that the viewer will be enriched, informed, and moved by these hard working men and recognize them as the “fabric” of the Dubai landscape.”
How could you use art as a medium to inform and create awareness about a chosen issue?
Posted by Peter MUIR
“I have never thought about moving to another country and speaking a different language. Forced by circumstance, I had to flee from my country with my family and came to Hong Kong. I used to have a 2 hour session a week for English in my home country, and that’s all I need to deal with English. It was never important to me. French and my own language were all the languages I need to know.
When I arrived at Hong Kong, French and my own language were not enough for me to survive anymore. In Hong Kong, I have to use English or Chinese for communication. I have no idea about Chinese, so English becomes crucial for me. I started to learn English in Christian Action, knowing it is an international language which I can use everywhere for business, school and daily life. It also applies to my home country- another language I can use besides of French and my own language.
I like Monday English Class very much. It is good in all aspects, especially our teacher. She is professional and knows how to teach. She taught me British English, as well as American English. She told me where to use British English and where to use American English. It is interesting to me and good to know…”
We currently have a similar program me running at Discovery College, with students planning and then delivering Cantonese, English and Design lessons to refugee and asylum seekers. With many of our student-teachers now graduating, we are in need for more students to continue these lessons. We need YOU to help give these refugee and asylum seekers the power to communicate. To give them the opportunity to learn and to feel a sense of accomplishment.
We will also be looking for sponsorship to help us cover the cost of this weekly program. Each session costs more than HK$500 for the participant’s transportation to/from our school, which is the most significant cost as these people are prohibited from working while awaiting the outcome of their protection or resettlement claim. Please help! Email Mr Muir asap if you are keen to hear more about how you can get involved.