Dinner Dialogue 2018


Christian Action’s Flag Day 2017 Presents:
Hong Kong Nostalgia

Approved by the Social Welfare Department to hold a Flag Day on Wednesday, 9th August, 2017, Christian Action (CA) will once again be selling charity stickers on the Hong Kong Island. The non-government subvented charity has invited famous Hong Kong artiste Sammy Leung as the Caring Ambassador, who is known for his influential charisma, active participation in charitable events and devotion to the community over the past years. Meanwhile, Hong Kong-based Japanese illustrator Mango Naoko has been invited to design 10 different unique flag stickers, graced with her signature illustrations of her own cats and nostalgic Hong Kong elements. Each incorporated with a caring message, CA’s Flag Day aims to bring positive energy to all in the city through the flag sale.

The aim of the Flag Day is to raise funds for CA’s social and humanitarian service programmes that enhance the ability and self-reliance of underprivileged and marginalised groups living in Hong Kong. As an independently funded charitable organisation with no recurrent funding from the government, CA has only been able to serve disadvantaged communities for over 30 years through generous support from the public.

With “Love has no boundaries. Serve the unserved” as the slogan for the Flag Day, CA is in need of about 2,000 volunteers to reach the fundraising target of HK$600,000 through the sale of flags in support of the organisation’s social and humanitarian services for the underprivileged in Hong Kong. CA is now recruiting volunteers to sell flags on the Flag Day. Details are as follows:

[Join us as our Volunteer!]
Date: 9 August 2017 (Wed)
Time: 0700 – 1200
Location: Hong Kong Island
Enrollment Period: from today – 17 July 2017
** A certificate of appreciation and a set of food coupons will be presented to each volunteer after the flag sale **

Those who are not able to support the event as a Flag Day volunteer can support CA bymaking a donation. A special Flag Day souvenir will be presented for donation of HK$3,000 or above!

For more information, please visit: www.christian-action.org.hk/flagday2017

Promotion Materials:

 CA PromotionMaterial 01 CA PromotionMaterial 02 

Celebration of International Women’s Day 2017
Commemorating the Acts of Courage and
Determination Among Women Migrant Workers in Hong Kong

In celebration of International Women’s Day 2017, International Organization for Migration (IOM) Hong Kong SAR and Christian Action’s Centre for Migrant Domestic Workers will host a commemorative event with support of honorary guests today (12 March 2017).

Hosted at the New Horizons Building, Christian Action’s headquarters and service centre in Kowloon Bay, the aim of the event is to appreciate and recognise the vital role of women migrant domestic workers and their contributions to Hong Kong society, as well as to promote the rights and protection of those in the community who are vulnerable and at risk of exploitation. The event also provides an opportunity for migrant domestic workers to express and showcase their artistic capabilities through a photography exhibition and talent competition in the presence of Government representatives from Hong Kong, The Philippines, and Indonesia.

Activities and takeaway for guests at the event include free entry to the finale of month-long Migrant Workers Got Talent contest, Women at Work photography competition, as well as cultural performances, food stalls, game booths by migrant organisations aimed at showcasing the cultural diversity of migrant domestic workers in Hong Kong.

International Women’s Day (IWD) falls on 8 March every year as a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. Since the early 1900, IWD is commemorated to accelerate gender parity, particularly in work space, through celebration, reflection, advocacy, and tangible action. Despite global progress and attitudinal shift in approaching women’s equality and emancipation, there remains much work to be done.

Mr. Justin Murgai, Manager of Humanitarian Services at Christian Action, says: “Since 1993, Christian Action has shown relentless commitment to support marginalised migrant women who are at risk of exploitation and abuse. Women migrant workers from all over the world – daughters, sisters, mothers, who have chosen the responsibility to support their families – contribute immensely to the social and economic development of their home countries and also where they work. Today we are here to celebrate their courage and achievements, and to continue raising awareness of the issues surrounding the community, especially those related to exploitation, abuse, and poor living conditions.”

In Hong Kong, majority of women migrants work as domestic workers who perform a variety of work, ranging from household, labour to care services. While essential to the functioning of Hong Kong’s economy, in many cases, the work has been reported to be accompanied by underpayment, difficult working conditions, and insufficient legal support. Women domestic workers, in particular, may be subjected to physical and sexual violence and exploitation at the hands of unscrupulous agencies, recruiters or employers.

Mrs. Nurul Qoiriah, the Head of IOM Sub-Office in Hong Kong SAR said that, “In line with the key theme of today IDW celebration, IOM as the United Nation Migration Agency, would like to express our appreciation and recognition to the vital role of migrant domestic workers for their contribution to the society. Most of these women are the primary breadwinners for their families back home and have made the agonising choice to leave their children and families behind to earn a living abroad. Their remittances generate significant cash revenues back home.”

Ms. Emily Lau, the first female legislator directly elected into the Legislative Council of Hong Kong, said: “I want to thank the foreign domestic workers for their valuable contribution to Hong Kong. I wish to create a win-win situation for foreign domestic workers and their employers, where the workers' rights are respected and the employers treat their workers well and can get the service of trained and responsible workers.”
IOM Hong Kong and Christian Action had the pleasure to have welcomed over 400 people at the event, including migrant workers as well as guests of honour from governments and concerning organisations across Hong Kong, The Philippines, and Indonesia to give their greetings to the audiences. Guests include Ms. H.E. Bernarda L. Catalla, Consul General of the Republic of the Philippines; Mr. Tri Tharyat, Consul General of the Republic of Indonesia; Mr. Sonny W. Manalu, Director of Social Rehabilitation and Victims of Trafficking Protection, Indonesian Ministry of Social Affairs; Ms. Emily Lau Wai-Hing, former Chair of the Democratic Party of Hong Kong; Mr. Lee Cheuk-Yan, General Secretary of the Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions; and Ms. Jec Sernande, Secretary of the Progressive Labor Union of Domestic Workers.

Event photos & captions:

IWD2017 1 Ms. Emily Lau Wai-hing, the first directly elected female member of the Legislative Council in Hong Kong, said that she looks forward to creating a win-win situation for employers and migrant domestic workers at the Celebration of International Women's Day 2017. 
IWD2017 2 Mrs. Nurul Qoiriah, Head of Sub-Office, IOM Hong Kong SAR, and Mr. Justin Murgai, Manager of Humanitarian Services at Christian Action, give their support to migrant domestic workers in Hong Kong.
IWD2017 3 Guests and organisers at Celebration of International Women’s Day 2017 (left to right): Mr. Justin Murgai, Manager of Humanitarian Services, Christian Action; Mr. Lee Cheuk-Yan, General Secretary of the Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions; Ms. Emily Lau Wai-Hing, former Chair of the Democratic Party of Hong Kong; Mr. Tri Tharyat, Consul General of the Republic of Indonesia; Mr. Sonny W. Manalu, Director of Social Rehabilitation and Victims of Trafficking Protection, Indonesian Ministry of Social Affairs; Ms. H.E. Bernarda L. Catalla, Consul General of the Republic of the Philippines; and Mrs. Nurul Qoiriah, Head of Sub-Office, IOM Hong Kong SAR.
IWD2017 4 Migrant domestic workers in Hong Kong showed their talents at Celebration of International Women's Day 2017.
IWD2017 5 Winning photo of the month-long Women at Work photo competition, featuring all originals submitted by migrant domestic workers. The photo exhibition was held at Celebration of International Women’s Day 2017 today.

Making Strides to New Lives
Christian Action 3-Legged Charity Walk x F.U.N. Carnival

Returning for the 5th time by popular demand, the 3-Legged Charity Walk, a signature annual event hosted by Christian Action (CA), was successfully held at The Clearwater Bay Golf & Country Club on 25 March 2017 (Saturday). Organised by CA in association with The Clearwater Bay Golf & Country Club, the 3-Legged Charity Walk is a fun, meaningful fundraising event that supports underprivileged children, while encouraging participants to experience the daily impediments of disabled children by finishing a 1.5-hour walk in a “3-legged” manner.

According to Mrs. Cheung-Ang Siew Mei, CA’s Executive Director: “Since CA was established over 30 years ago, we have been serving the most marginalised and neglected communities in society – one of the main groups include underprivileged children, with backgrounds ranging from poor families and new arrival, to ethnic minorities and refugee families. This is why we have added many fresh elements this year – not only to bring you something new, but also to give an opportunity for our service users to showcase their talents, and to allow everyone here to get to know the different lifestyles and cultures.”

Entitled 3-Legged Charity Walk x F.U.N. Carnival, the 2017 event is enriched with an array of carnival games and engaging activities such as African drumming and upcycling workshops, ethnic music and dance performances and bouncy castle, providing a one-of-a-kind, inclusive family experience that promises F.U.N. (Family. Unity. Never-Ending.) for all cultures and ages. Participants had a chance to compete in the timed 3-Legged RunRacing, and were also encouraged to learn about the lives of Hong Kong’s grassroots communities through booths that assimilate sub-divided flats and meals that are under HK$15 versus HK$40 dollars.

Accompanying Mrs. Cheung on stage was Eric, an 18 year-old teenager with cerebral palsy who grew up in CA’s Xining Children’s Home, a welfare home in Qinghai for disabled children. Having arranged to undergo leg correction surgery and rehabilitation in Hong Kong last year, Eric shared: “Learning how to walk was not an easy process, and there are times when I just do not think I can keep going. But I am very grateful for the treatment and surgery CA has arranged for me. I cannot imagine walking on my own before this – now I can at least walk a few steps. I can walk my own path.” Irene Chung, one of the supporters of CA’s Qinghai Programme who also participated in this event said, “Just like Christ did thousands of years ago, CA is touching lives and literally making the lame to walk! It was special to see and hear Eric’s personal sharing. Thanks for including us!”

The funds raised from 3-Legged Charity Walk x F.U.N. Carnival will go towards CA’s work with orphans and disabled children in Qinghai to support individuals like Eric, as well as for needy families in Hong Kong. Christian Action thanks The Clearwater Bay Golf & Country Club for offering their all-round support for running the event by managing the activity & venue arrangement, and providing full financial support for transport, setup, food & beverage, entertainment and performance. During the past 5 years, the event has garnered over 3,400 supporters, with a cumulative amount of nearly HK$2.6M funds raised to support CA’s work.

Event photos & captions:

 3 Legged Photo1 CA’s Executive Director Mrs. Cheung-Ang Siew Mei (centre left) and Mr. Peter Ho, (centre right) Membership Committee Member of The Clearwater Bay Golf & Country Club, cheered for all participants at the 5th annual 3-Legged Charity Walk at the starting line.
3 Legged Photo2 CA’s 3-Legged Charity Walk is a fun, meaningful experiential learning for all ages, encouraging participants to experience the daily impediments of disabled children by finishing a 1.5-hour walk in a “3-legged” manner.
3 Legged Photo3 Eric (centre), an 18 year-old disabled teenager with cerebral palsy who grew up in Xining Children’s Home in Qinghai, shared about his experiences undergoing rehabilitation and surgery arranged by CA.
3 Legged Photo4 Participants competing in the 3-Legged FunRacing timed competition at the 3-Legged Charity Walk x F.U.N. Carnival hosted at The Clearwater Bay Golf & Country Club on 25 March 2017.
3 Legged Photo5 In addition to experiencing impediments of disabled children through the 3-legged walk, participants were encouraged to learn about the lives of Hong Kong’s grassroots communities through a booth that simulates a sub-divided home.

Over 1,000 Appealed to Retain New Horizons Building
Support Christian Action’s Stay,
Maintain Social Welfare in Kowloon East

Since mid-December last year Christian Action (CA) has received over 1,000 signed letters and cards of appeal from service users, corporate clients, partners and staff to appeal for the government’s reconsideration in demolishing New Horizons Building (NHB), CA’s headquarters and main service and training centre for over 30 years. The petition and appeal letters handed to various members the Kwun Tong District Council yesterday (10 January) with one clear goal – to retain NHB so that CA can continue serving the community at large.

The NHB and its neighbouring area are included in Hong Kong government’s redevelopment plan for the Kowloon East district, and the development of land along Wang Chiu Road, where NHB is included, is currently under consultation. Should the development plan be confirmed, this area will be redeveloped for public housing and a new secondary school and consequently, NHB will be demolished and CA will have to move out. Seeing such urgency, CA saw this as a critical time to hand in the petition letter to the Kwun Tong District Council.

NHB has been rented by CA under Short Term Tenancy (STT) as an “O” site (“Open Space” zone) for over 30 years, providing services to vulnerable groups within the community and neighbouring area. According to Executive Director Cheung-Ang Siew Mei, since acknowledging the government’s intention in 2014, CA has been communicating with government parties to find the most appropriate solution with the least disruption on social services. However, little satisfactory progress has been made except for the grant of lease from Labour and Welfare
Bureau two days ago (9 January) to extend CA’s stay at NHB until 30 June next year.

Cheung stated: “To clarify, we are not opposed to public housing development. While we fully recognise the government’s needs in developing public housing, we urge the government to consider fulfilling social service needs within the district – especially for the incoming grassroots community that will come with the new housing development.”

Established in 1985 CA has been a major non-government subvented organisation in Hong Kong providing pioneering social, humanitarian services, education and training for the disadvantaged, benefitting refugees, underprivileged women and children, low-income families, ethnic minorities, new arrivals, and migrant domestic workers. Over 1 million attendances have benefited from CA’s services in 30 years.

As a headquarter, NHB is a pillar for the coordination of CA’s 20 social service and training centres and 5 community sales outlets across Kowloon and New Territories. Opening beyond normal office hours, the services provided at NHB include after-school children care, counselling services and youth programmes, along with community-friendly services such as a community information and cyber centre, public reading area for local grassroots women and elderly, as well as a weekend drop-in and training centre for foreign domestic workers. CA also provides retraining to the underprivileged and unemployed, training up to 23,000 students per year, among which 45% were trained at NHB. Over 60,000 attendances are served at NHB per year.

Over 750 appeal letters received are from CA’s service users, among 500 are from residents of Kowloon East, including Kwun Tong, Kowloon City, and Wong Tai Sin. Ling, a single mother whose daughter is supported by CA’s after-school childcare programme, was one of them. “With my chronic illness I was not able to properly take care of my daughter. Since I cannot work, I felt useless and had a very low self-worth. In our counselling session I was encouraged by CA’s social worker to volunteer and help other mothers like me. I eventually became a long-term volunteer, mainly assisting with picking up children from the after-school programme, managing their class and so forth. The opportunity not only made me feel like I have a purpose, it also improved the relationship with my daughter, whose academic performance was also boosted under the staff’s undivided care. Recently I also signed up for CA’s retraining course and I am confident that, with my improving health, I should be able to contribute back to society as a working mother in no time. I really hope the building can be retained, so CA can continue to provide these services for us.”

Cheung added, “Should NHB be demolished, the disruption of CA’s services will have a tremendous effect on existing service users like Ling and will pose a further impact to the social welfare, leading to more issues such as rising unemployment in the grassroots community. With the petition today we are seeking support from the Kwun Tong District Council and to urge the government to reconsider and allow us to stay, so that we can continue to fill the service gaps for existing and new residents in Kowloon East.”

Event photos & captions:

CAPetition KTDCPhoto1 In order to seek support from Kwun Tong district councillors and to urge government to reconsider the demolition of New Horizons Building, CA representative submitted a petition letter and appeal letters to Dr. Bunny Chan, Chairman of Kwun Tong District Council.
CAPetition KTDCPhoto2CAPetition KTDCPhoto3CAPetition KTDCPhoto4 Various district councillors expressed their support for CA to continue its services for the marginalised in Kwun Tong, further stating that they will urge the government to make a proper decision.
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