Refugee Solidarity March

Saturday, September 12, was the International Day of Refugee Solidarity. Here in Hong Kong the Refugee Union held a rally/march to show support not only for Syrian refugees, but also the thousands of refugees living in Hong Kong struggling to meet their basic needs. I attended with a few friends, handmade posters in tow.

Lots of community support at the rally

To be a refugee in Hong Kong is to live a hard life. While Hong Kong permits asylum to around 10,000 refugees from all over the globe, it doesn’t actually provide for them once they are here. These asylum seekers fleeing dangerous conditions do not have the right to work and can remain in limbo, fighting to get by on an unjustifiably small stipend. Many of them resort to begging and live in makeshift shelters.

This picture of my friend and I ended up in a local news source

So what can we do about it? Support rallies organized by the Refugee Union, of course. I have volunteered with an organization called Vision First on Saturdays in the past. They have a women’s knitting group of female refugees who make beautiful handicrafts which volunteers like myself then take to artisan markets around the city to sell. There is an organization called Crossroads that can facilitate mass donations, so once a year I have my students make up hygiene and sanitation packs to send to Syrian refugee camps. If you live in an area with a refugee presence, reach out.

There were many passionate speakers in attendance

If you don’t have money to make a donation, give your time. No matter what your skill set involves, it can be of service. Teach a class on computer skills! Help a local refugee agency redesign their website, or simplify wordy legal documents. I know refugee children in Hong Kong always appreciate English support or homework tutoring. If the Syrian refugee crisis seems far removed and you still want to help, try thinking local.

Comments

  1. I'm so proud of you for advocating for others less fortunate. You donate countess hours and your own hard-earned cash often and freely. You are truly my inspiration!

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