Refugee Union wishes a Happy Easter to all! A special thanks to the students from Hong Kong Polytechnic University who spent their Easter weekend with the children of Refugee Union. The university students planned fantastic Art and Cantonese classes for the children, with an additional focus on sharing and building good character. Thank you again to the students from Hong Kong Polytechnic University! For those interested in volunteering their time and expertise with Refugee Union, you are welcome to get in touch with us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Donations that refugees are currently seeking include: rice cookers, diapers for babies, and laptops. Used rice cookers and laptops in good condition are welcome, as well. Thank you!
On Tuesday, 23 January, Refugee Union members, along with members of Socialist Action, protested outside the Cheung Sha Wan government offices in support of continuing tuition subsidies for refugee children. Currently the government office has delayed these necessary subsidies, leaving refugee children and their families in limbo. These subsidies are essential so that refugee children may have equal access to quality education. Refugees in Hong Kong are prohibited from working in the city, and thus cannot afford to pay the increasingly expensive tuition fees charged by schools here. Refugee Union believes that quality education and child care are human rights, and that government spending must be increased in these areas. Refugee Union opposes the Hong Kong government’s accelerating privatization of education. This government action disproportionately affects the refugee community, and is detrimental to all who reside in Hong Kong.
In March 2014, my sister invited me to support the Refugee Union in one of their protests in Wanchai: “Occupy SWD Against Corruption”. After the demonstration, I knew more about the suffering situation of such a long-neglected disadvantaged group. Then, I did more research on the Refugee Union, which is a registered society for protecting asylum seekers in Hong Kong with the aim of safeguarding refugee rights and improving the protection, wellbeing and future prospect of all refugees.
Many refugees and asylum seekers are still being held up indefinitely and they might even lose hopes in life. I felt that I could offer my support especially to the young kids who are very vulnerable to their surroundings, yet it is not their choices. The children do not know what is going on around them. In order to better develop their potential and help them to better integrate into the society, I offered my time and efforts in preparing a weekly free Cantonese class every Saturday afternoon. Apart from helping them to deal with the difficulties in homework, I would also prepare and conduct tailor-made supplementary Cantonese notes for them, such as the written art work, poems, songs and various innovative games for them to practice the local language.
Throughout a year of voluntary teaching, I encountered difficulties in designing the teaching materials. Since learning diversity exists between those studying kindergarten and the others studying primary school 2 or 3, I had to adjust the level of the content. Also, I recruited some helpers to assist those young children with poorer Chinese levels. In addition, I was challenged to plan innovative and creative learning activities. Fortunately, I received much good advice from my school teachers, helpers from other universities and friends.
This opportunity inspired me to take related courses, research and read books regarding teaching Chinese to non-Chinese students. I am more confident in arranging Chinese learning activities which will motivate young kids. I think they will learn something from my class and be more capable in breaking down the language barriers. I would like to give thanks to the parents of the refugee kids since they help a lot to manage the class discipline.
I am glad that I have been growing up with the children of the Refugee Union for a year. Having Cantonese class with them is very enjoyable and meaningful since they are eager to learn and often bring happiness to me. Moreover, I have met many refugees who have travelled a long way to Hong Kong, and I admire their extraordinary resilience and tenacity. Through teaching these energetic and enthusiastic youngsters, I strive to assist them in integrating into the society, so they may have equal opportunities to fully contribute their potential. I am also confident that my students will share my dedication to help the needy in society.