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: firstname.lastname@example.org, 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, email@example.com or through our Facebook page.