Petition to SWD against Rent Guarantors

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OCTOBER ROUNDUP AT THE REFUGEE UNION

Nov 28th, 2018 | Advocacy | Comment

October was a meaningful and busy month at the Refugee Union. With the generous support of our kind-heart volunteers and committed members, our Office continue to serve the local refugee community, speaking out for an improvement of their living condition and well-being despite the harsh conditions that Hong Kong Government forces on us. 

New Events

On 5 October, our Office submitted a petition to the Legislative Council (Legco) Panel on Security, concerning the tightening of regulations on the asylum seekers and refugees. We expressed our opinion on behalf of the local refugee community after collecting views from different groups and nationalities. Our top priority is to always strive for change in the asylum sphere. 

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On 12 October, our Office collaborated with “Mini Acts for the Greater Good” to hold an art exhibition at The Hive in Wong Chuk Hang. Many refugee kids and their parents attended and practiced their art and painting skills while sharing their experience with many residents who expressed interest in both the artwork and the plight of refugees in Hong Kong. 

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We were honoured to have the Hon. Fernando Cheung attend the refugee children art exhibition. Thank you for your tireless support of refugees in Hong Kong, Sir!

Fernando Cheung and RU leaders - Oct2018

Also, we are glad to have new classes at our Office in Sai Ying Pun. We would like to welcome the new volunteers from different universities who are willing to spend their time to organize Cantonese classes for our refugee adults while connecting us to new resources. They help us to understand more about the Chinese culture and to better integrate into the local community.

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Regular Events

On a weekly basis, our Office offers a series of classes targeting the asylum seekers and refugees with different age groups. These are ongoing activities our members are most grateful for as not classes not only provide opportunity to learn, but also socialize and get out of the oppressive routine of feeling like prisoners-in-the-city which is the condition of being on Immigration bail without the opportunity to work and feel productive. 

We have the Canadian Tutorial Session every Saturday at our office, with a group of passionate volunteers to teach refugee children school assignments and help them to prepare for tests and examinations.

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The Cultural Diversity Playgroup at our office targets both refugee adults and babies. Participants can make new friends and learn new things during lessons. They all share joyful moments.

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Members who are interested in the above programmes, please visit our office for more information. We would like to express our heartfelt gratitude to all volunteers who stand with our refugee community. Keep visiting our website and Facebook for the latest information. For enquiry, please don’t hesitate to visit our office or email us at info@refugeeunion.org. THANK YOU.

Celebrating art and painting by refugee children

Oct 13th, 2018 | Advocacy | Comment

The celebration at the Hive in Aberdeen was a great event which was organised in collaboration with Mini Acts For Greater Good. It promoted universal art and painting skills at a high level of integration in all refugee kids. Many families together with their kids attended, showed an enthusiastic mood greatly interested in exercising practically by an exhibition of the children art and painting skills. The art and painting had no boundaries: some participants were from Greece, Syria, Pakistan, German, Hong Kong local kids and ( ” Refugee Union Hong Kong Kids”). However, natural talent cannot be hidden by immigration status, it reveals its self anywhere it can be expressed; let it be in a camp, on street, in hotel, homes and in any community at any age. What it requires is time, freedom and social support. Thank you Hong Kong for helping us. 

Art exhibition

SEPTEMBER ROUNDUP AT THE REFUGEE UNION

Oct 12th, 2018 | Advocacy | Comment

This September was a meaningful month at our Refugee Union office. With the support of our volunteers and members, we continued to advocate for the basic rights and well-being of our refugee community.

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In early September, we got a golden opportunity to join the community engagement fair at the ESF Discovery College, together with eleven other corporations. It was our honour to share our stories with students. We were also glad to meet and exchange ideas with other people who are passionate to make contributions to our society.

DCCE (Sep)

Other than the new programmes that launched recently, meanwhile, regular programmes continued to operate at our office.

Each Saturday, the Canadian Tutorial Session holds at our office, targeting our refugee children. Volunteers teach school assignments and help them to prepare for tests and examinations.

CTS (Sep)

Also, each Tuesday, the Cultural Diversity Playgroup organises at our office for both refugee families. Each time participants share joyful moments, adults share their own stories with new friends, while babies learn new things through interactive activities.

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New members who are interested in the above programmes, please visit our office for more information.

We would like to show our heartfelt gratitude to volunteers who stand with us. Keep visiting our website and Facebook to have the latest information. For enquiry, please don’t hesitate to visit our office or email us at info@refugeeunion.org.

Refugee Union petitions the Legco Panel on Security

Oct 5th, 2018 | Advocacy, Government, Immigration, RU Report | Comment

The Refugee Union is gravely concerned about the tightening of security around refugees in Hong Kong. This only serves to worsen the conditions we suffer when applying for protection in the city. On 4 October 2018 a group of Refugee Union leaders submitted a petition to the Security Bureau ahead of a meeting of the Panel on Security (Legco) on the subject. 

We stongly hope that the rights of refugees in Hong Kong will be protected while the Immigration Department improves the screening process (USM) by producing more credible results than the current 1% acceptance rate for the past decade. 

The proposed tightening policy will pose a detrimental impact on the lives of refugees. We therefore stand against the proposal and call for humanitarian treatment by the Hong Kong Government. We hope that lawmakers and Government officials appreciate that no one leaves their home country unless their home is in the mouth of a shark. 

We sincerely hope the Panel on Security will consider our needs and uphold the humanitarian virtues of Hong Kong. 

RU presents petition to Legco - 4Oct2018
RU petition to Legco Panel on Security - 4Oct2018

Refugee talks at Chinese University

Oct 5th, 2018 | Advocacy, RU updates, programs, events | Comment

No Escape - CUHK - 8Nov2018

August Roundup at the Refugee Union

Sep 27th, 2018 | Advocacy | Comment

This August was a fruitful month at the Refugee Union. Members stayed active in attending our monthly meeting and voicing their opinions to improve the living condition and fundamental rights for the refugee community. Meanwhile, our regular programmes continued to operate for actualising refugees’ well-being and supporting where we can. 

During the Cultural Diversity Playgroup, certificates were presented to refugee kids who have got into kindergarten.

The Cultural Diversity Playgroup is held every Tuesday for refugee babies to learn through interactive activities. It also provides opportunities for other refugees of different cultural backgrounds to know each others and to share their own stories. The Canadian Tutoring Session on every Saturday offers free tutorial class for refugee children to help with their school assignments and revision. Interested members please visit our office for more information.

Volunteers taught during the Canadian Tutoring Session.

On 25 August, students of The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) organised a one-day tour around the Hong Kong Island for refugee families, participants had a taste of Chinese culture “yum cha” and tried local cuisines “dim sum” at the Chinese restaurant, they also shared joyful moments in the Observation Wheel and The Peak.

Photo taken outside the Lin Heung Tea House during the Hong Kong Island One-day Tour.

On 31 August, the Social Welfare Department replied our petition sent earlier on 20 June during the World Refugee Day, click here for more information.

We would like to show our heartfelt gratitude to volunteers who stand with us. Keep visiting our website and Facebook to have the latest information. For enquiry, please don’t hesitate to visit our office or email us at info@refugeeunion.org.

Social Welfare Department reply to Refugee Union

Sep 11th, 2018 | Advocacy, Food, Government, Housing, Welfare | Comment

SWD reply to RU - 31Aug18

Summer News Round-Up at Refugee Union

Aug 13th, 2018 | Advocacy | Comment

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.

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Refugee Union members studying Cantonese with CUHK students

 

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.

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Babies and parents enjoying a story at Cultural Diversity playgroup

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.

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Refugee Union, Junior Chamber International, and Lions Club of Hong Kong IFC come together in fellowship on a really hot July day!

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.

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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: info@refugeeunion.org, or check out our Facebook page.

June Round-Up at Refugee Union

Jul 7th, 2018 | Advocacy | Comment

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.

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Adella Namagembe, chairperson of Refugee Union, shakes hands with a Social Welfare Department official on World Refugee Day after delivering a petition on behalf of Refugee Union.

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.

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Good laughs, drinks, and conversation at Drink for Justice – June !

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.

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Making Egyptian stuffed zucchini (kousa mahshi كوسة محشي) at Bite Unite!

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.

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Thanks Ms. Lisa Pang and team for your visit to Refugee Union!

Donations

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.

Donation Requests

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, info@refugeeunion.org or through our Facebook page.

 

 

 

Petition to Social Welfare Department (Chinese)

Jun 23rd, 2018 | Advocacy, Food, Health, Housing, Welfare | Comment

RU letter to SWD - 2Jun2018

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