It has been a challenging couple of weeks in Hong Kong. Hours-long COVID-19 testing queues in frosty temperatures, hospitals overwhelmed and families separated. Our hearts go out to all of you directly or indirectly affected by any of the recent developments.
We have seen many troubling issues emerge from the tailwind of this latest pandemic wave that have left many groups vulnerable, including women and girls. Some Migrant Domestic Workers who have tested positive for COVID-19 have been wrongfully terminated from their employment contracts. They are struggling for access to healthcare and places to quarantine – some have had to sleep on the streets. Over two-thirds of low-income families report at least one family member has lost their job due to COVID-19, with 74% noting their household income had shrunk over the past two years. The steep increase in food prices from cross-border shipments and prolonged school closures only adds to the struggle. For women in these families who generally take on greater amounts of the domestic and emotional labour, this is particularly worrying. There are re-instated strict measures for expectant mothers who now cannot be accompanied by a partner or family member when giving birth under any circumstances.
In the midst of these hard-hitting challenges, we have also seen the Hong Kong community rise to the occasion, coming together in compassion and action to help. Here are a few ways you can get involved:
- Helping Vulnerable Groups: If you have or know of spaces where Migrant Domestic Workers can quarantine, please email HELP for Domestic Workers at firstname.lastname@example.org. Hands On Hong Kong has compiled a list of urgently needed items for underprivileged groups – please reach out to them if you have any of these items.
- Information: HEAL have put together a handy FAQ on what to do under various circumstances if you or a close contact may have contracted COVID-19. Hong Kong Baptist University's Chinese Medicine Centre provides free online consulting for individuals who test positive for COVID-19 (Chinese only). SCMP created an explainer about the forthcoming vaccine pass.
- Mental Well-being: MindHK offers useful guides on caring for mental health during the pandemic. Red Door Counselling is offering free anxiety workshops to adults. This 14-day quarantine Wellness Kit from HKU is a helpful resource to stay positive. If the situation requires talking to a professional, please refer to this list of hotlines.
TWF is privileged to be part of such a resilient, kind community, and we are moving to support our community through this next period. We are continuing with our #TEENForGood Initiative to support the learning needs of unprivileged students at risk of falling behind academically due to the pandemic, launching well being initiatives and speaking with our partners in the community on new ways to address immediate challenges in the community. Please support these initiatives by getting in touch at email@example.com.
While making sure to protect and nurture our own mental well-being, let's also continue to pool together our resources, ideas and talent to get all of us – particularly the most vulnerable of us – through this crisis together.
Get in touch at Fiona.Nott@twfhk.org.