This summer has been a productive one at Refugee Union. From new programming for members to monthly meetings and fundraisers, members have stayed active, alert, and focused on improving conditions for all the refugee community in Hong Kong.
This month, Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) students started offering new Cantonese classes for adults and young people. While many Refugee Union members hope to be resettled elsewhere since Hong Kong has a less than 1% acceptance rate of refugees, they are making the most of their time in Hong Kong. Most members have waited years for their claims or their family’s claims to be processed, and being unable to work leaves them in a constant state of anxiety, boredom and limbo. Nevertheless, members do their best to be productive members of society, such as by studying Cantonese.
Our other programs continued this summer -including cultural diversity playgroup for infants and toddlers. This group is a great way for families in and out of the refugee community to come together, play, learn, and share their own backgrounds and experiences together. We have more in common with one another than one might think. If you are interested in attending with your baby, playgroup happens every other Tuesday. See our Facebook page for more information.
Some other exciting programming from this summer included a fellowship gathering with Junior Chamber International and Lions Club Hong Kong IFC, as well as “Are You Asleep Yet?” a Shakespeare for All (S4A) Interactive Concert for young people. We really appreciate groups reaching out to us, because such collaborations yield beautiful moments for folks from different communities and backgrounds to come together.
Finally, our monthly all-you-can eat and drink fundraiser, Drink for Justice, was a fantastic event with folks from all over Hong Kong. Last month it took place at Capo Centrale, a delicious new Italian restaurant in Soho, where guests were invited to take the stage in an open-mic. From spoken word to rap, drag king lip sync to ukelele, guests from in and out of the refugee community shared their talents with a raucous supportive crowd, all while raising awareness and money for the refugee community of Hong Kong. Look out for our next Drink for Justice happening later this month.
The situation continues to be fraught for refugees, as one can see in the articles on our webpage, and in reading or watching the daily news. Stand strong against fear and discrimination, and reach out to refugees in your community. Our differences only make us stronger. Should you have any questions, or interest in volunteering with Refugee Union, please email us: email@example.com, or check out our Facebook page.
World Refugee Day is celebrated every year on June 20th. This year, Refugee Union commemorated the day with the reminder that every day is World Refugee Day, and that refugees are people too.
Petition to Social Welfare Department
Members of Refugee Union delivered a petition to the Social Welfare Department in Wan Chai. The Department is in charge of supplies, such as food cards for Park n’ Shop, money to pay flat rent to landlords, Octopus cards for travel, and sanitary products for hygiene, which asylum seekers pick up each month. Because asylum seekers are not allowed to work while waiting for their refugee status claims to be processed by Hong Kong government, they must rely on these limited supplies to care for themselves and their families each month. Asylum seekers wait for years for their claims to be processed. The supply allotment is incredibly low in relation to the high cost of living in Hong Kong (for ex., one roll of toilet paper for each refugee, per month). Refugee Union called for supply allotments to be increased to reflect the reality of living in an expensive city like Hong Kong. We hope to receive a positive response from the Head Office, and that our struggle is not in vain.
Drink for Justice (DFJ)
“This month DFJ celebrated World Refugee Day with an exclusive and exciting lineup of local and international talents, arranged to delight us with comedy, music, dance, and the fine art of mixing drinks. At Employees Only Hong Kong, DFJ and Uncensored Cabaret joined forces to host a night of fine tunes, special cocktails and an epic open mic program!” Learn more at the DFJ event page.
Celebrating the Food and Recipes of Hong Kong’s Refugee Community
On June 23rd, Refugee Union joined forces with Table of Two Cities, Taste of Hope HK, Art Women, and Bite Unite to celebrate World Refugee Day. The event showcased the food and recipes of Hong Kong’s refugee community, with refugee-directed cooking demos of food from Sri Lanka, Togo, and Egypt. The greater Hong Kong community was invited to learn more about refugees’ experiences in Hong Kong through food, collaborative art, and conversation. The event was covered by Hong Kong Free Press (HKFP), and you can read the HKFP article here.
Thank you Hong Kong community, for donations of shoes, sanitary products, and more this month. We also would like to express our gratitude to Ms. Lisa Pang, a donation coordinator whose team visited Refugee Union last week to connect through food and conversation.
Refugees request donations of laptops (clean, used in good condition), rice cookers (clean, used in good condition), diapers (new), and summer clothing (clean, used in good condition). We thank you again for your consideration!
Interested in volunteering or learning more about Refugee Union? Connect with us by email, firstname.lastname@example.org or through our Facebook page.
May was a productive month at Refugee Union. From the members’ monthly meeting, to knitting classes, to the monthly fundraiser, Drink for Justice, members and friends of Refugee Union came together in solidarity and to raise awareness of refugee issues in Hong Kong. In addition, members of Refugee Union were invited to the West Island School last week where they connected with students over food and culture. Everyone worked together to prepare and enjoy dishes from Refugee Union members’ home countries. Thank you again to all who came out, donated, and participated in May events, and we look forward to celebrating World Refugee Day (June 20) next week. Every day is World Refugee Day!
On behalf of the families who participate in Cultural Diversity Playgroup, we would like to thank Disposable Soft Goods (DSG) LTD for their donation of Pet Pet baby diapers to Refugee Union families. Because the official monthly supply of diapers given to refugees and asylum seekers is woefully inadequate, this donation will enable families to maintain hygiene and take good care of their babies!
Refugee Union continues to welcome donations of baby diapers, rice cookers and laptops (used but in good condition is OK) for its members and their families. A big thank you to DSG, and to all donors. We hope to see you at next week’s Drink for Justice event (31 May)!
Drink for Justice returns this month with an exciting new program!
Get ready to have your wit and knowledge challenged in a night of quizzes and group competitions staged at splendid, newly opened Africa Coffee and Tea.
Music group Talents Displaced will hold a special performance, comprising artists from across the globe.
All proceeds from ticket sales will go to support charity organization Refugee Union!
Tell your friends and join the most meaningful drinks free-flow event in town. Turn your Happy Hour in positive change.
Come out on 31 May, 6:30-9PM
Africa Coffee & Tea in Wong Chuk Hang (15/F, Suite 1501-1504, 41 Heung Yip Road, Wong Chuk Hang MTR Exit A1
Purchase tickets here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/drink-for-justice-tickets-45790579857
RSVP on the Facebook event page
Learn more at www.drinkforjustice.org
It has been another busy month at Refugee Union, with excellent opportunities for fellowship among members of the refugee community, and with the Hong Kong community at large.
The Drink for Justice series continues to be an excellent event for building solidarity with the greater Hong Kong community, combating prejudice and preconceptions of people who have been forced to leave their homelands, and raising money for the members of Refugee Union and their families. At the April event, artwork from the children’s painting classes was exhibited for purchase, which raised some money for members of Refugee Union. Thank you to donors! All the money raised from the Drink for Justice events goes to refugees currently living in Hong Kong who struggle to subsist on the sub-par living allowances from International Social Services (ISS) as authorized by the Hong Kong government. Thanks to all who joined us at the event, and special thanks to La Vin Wines and Petit Cucina in Central for hosting us this past month.
Earlier this month, Refugee Union held its monthly meeting, where members could come together and discuss common issues. At this meeting, Refugee Union welcomed a volunteer speaker to talk with members about how to stay physically healthy and fit despite the emotional and physical toll of waiting for the legal outcome on their asylum cases.
Further, activities and programming at Refugee Union are in full swing. From painting, knitting and English classes for young people, to English and Cantonese classes for adults, members of Refugee Union make good use of their time as they await decisions on their asylum cases. Asylum seekers are not allowed to work in Hong Kong, leading to months and even years of being unable to pursue fruitful work in their careers.
If you would like to support the refugee community, members are currently seeking diapers, rice cookers, and laptops in good condition. Cash donations to Refugee Union are welcome as well to support programming events, like cultural diversity playgroup. If you are interested in volunteering at Refugee Union or making a donation, please email email@example.com or call +852 9828 7176. Thank you for your support, and hope to see you at Refugee Union or at a future Drink for Justice event!