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OFW group gets $30k grant to aid stranded and quarantined HK migrants

06 August 2020

By The SUN

Social Justice and Soap Cycling members pack hygiene kits for stranded migrant workers 

HER Fund, a community women’s organization, has approved a $29,800 grant to finance Social Justice for Migrant Workers’ program to provide food, cash aid and workshops for quarantined and stranded foreign domestic workers.

SJMW founder and The SUN contributor Marites Palma said the funding group approved the grant after studying her proposal to help needy migrant workers.

  
Palma submitted her project proposal titled “Support for FDH in Hong Kong who are quarantined and stranded during the pandemic” after seeing that hundreds of domestic workers who lost their jobs because of the pandemic were left stranded in the city.
HER Fund found Palma’s proposal in accord with its job of promoting marginal and grassroots women’s rights and improving their living conditions through funding, ability training and resource linkage.
Palma said the grant covers aid distribution starting on Aug 15 and ending on May 14 next year. It will be carried out in collaboration with Share Hong Kong and United Filipinos in Hong Kong.
 
Palma speaks at a women empowerment forum organized by the Equal Opportunities Commission
Since February this year, thousands of displaced helpers had been left stranded in Hong Kong because of frequent flight cancellations to and from Manila, apart from the strict lockdowns that halted domestic flights around the country.


SJWM began extending help when it was made aware of the problems faced by dozens of helpers who needed to undergo quarantine after returning from vacation in the Philippines.

Many of the workers appealed for food, as their employers did not provide them enough sustenance during their 14-day quarantine. Hong Kong’s labour laws oblige employers to pay a food allowance, but it’s hardly enough to cover all their meals during the quarantine, not to mention that they are not allowed to go out even just to buy food.

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Together with other migrant workers organizations such as Global Alliance HK, La Union Federation, Panay Overseas Workers Association, Taipo Domestic Workers Group, Guardians Republican Int'l Inc., Filipino Nurses Association HK, SJWM decided to take action.

Later, non-government organizations such as the Mission for Migrant Workers, Asia Pacific Mission for Migrants and Soap Cycling, along with some Hong Kong residents, joined the endeavor.

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Many donated cash, which totaled nearly $10,000, and some contributed food packs, home-cooked meals and groceries that were given to the needy domestic workers.
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