- Published on 26 November 2011
On the Margin of Society
Across the world, more than 65 million forcibly displaced persons are struggling on the margins of society. In many cases, they are traumatized by persecution, torture and violence in their home countries, which is further compounded by the fact that in Hong Kong, they are often viewed with suspicion, and face prejudice and rejection fueled by resentment and fear.
Hong Kong has not signed the 1951 Refugee Convention, and the situation for refugees and asylum seekers in Hong Kong is dire. While they wait for the outcome of their refugee claims, and to be resettled, they need shelter, clothing and food, and access to psycho-social and basic medical services, as well as financial support for their children to attend school. Even though the HKSAR Government has made some changes to their humanitarian assistance, there is still much to be done to ensure that refugees are able to live with dignity. For now, they must constantly struggle in a state bordering on destitution.
Christian Action believes that everyone has a right to seek refuge from persecution, which they may be facing in their country of origin. Our Centre for Refugees was established at Chungking Mansions in 2004, and is the first and only community centre for refugees and asylum seekers in Hong Kong.
Drawing from over 50 years of experience serving refugees, and a collaborative relationship with the Hong Kong government and other charity partners built on trust, our Centre for Refugees is in a unique and strategic position to provide a holistic programme of care, development and empowerment for refugees in Hong Kong. Our services focus in four key areas:
Provision of daily meals, emergency shelter, emergency cash grants, referrals to trauma-informed medical and legal practitioners, milk and diapers for babies and toddlers, and in-kind donation distribution of clothes, bedding, kitchen appliances, utensils, etc.
Education & Training
Provision of education sponsorship and after-school homework support for children, language and skills training classes and certification courses for adults including English classes in partnership with the British Council, General Education Development (GED), International English Language Testing System (IELTS), warehouse training placement, computer literacy, etc.
Psychosocial & Mental Health Support
Provision of long-term counseling, therapy and referrals for psychiatric support for victims of trauma and torture, and programmes for youth development, women’s well-being and healing, empowerment through arts and sports, as well as other recreational activities.
Outreach & Community Representation
Provision of public education and awareness workshops, active engagement in welfare and policy consultation and advocacy, facilitation of community engagement and volunteering opportunities, as well as representation in various local and regional fora.
Fifteen-year old Rasta’s world was turned upside down after a group of military rebels tried to conscript him. Unable to escape their threats, he was forced to flee his country. After his refugee status was recognized by the UNHCR Hong Kong office, he was introduced to Christian Action Centre for Refugees. Rasta gained access to counseling, medical support, and a network of people who cared deeply about his health and welfare. More than that, our caseworker encouraged and supported him when he did not know what he wanted or needed. Not surprising for a teenager who had endured so many trials and disappointments. Rasta frequently shared his passion for art and photography with his case worker, so when a generous donor offered to teach photography, Rasta was the first to enroll. He turned out to be one of the star students, capturing bold shots of Hong Kong and its people living their daily lives.
Christian Action staff, whom Rasta calls ‘family’, supported him during some of his darkest times. Rasta, who is truly an over-comer, resettled in his destination country in 2014 and is today one of the highest earners in his team in a major multinational. He credits much of his success to the support and education he received through the Centre for Refugees and as he rebuilds his life, plans to help other refugees facing desperate circumstances.
How You Can Help
HK$200 provides a refugee with a month’s access to important basic material items, as well as medical, social, psychosocial, legal, spiritual, and other services in Hong Kong.
HK$500 enables to refugee child to attend and succeed in school
HK$1000 feeds up to 100 people in our soup kitchen each day
How You Can Help:
Click to donate or visit Get Involved for creative ways to plug-in and help!