Connecting Cultures and Communities
A project of the Mission for Migrant Workers (MFMW)
We can live and work together
Celebrating multiculturalism of peoples in Hong Kong
t was a day for cultural harmony and sensitivity, cooperation and unity, fun and learning. The Multicultural Connections Carnival – a project supported by the Love Ideas, Love Hong Kong program of the Li Ka Shing Foundation – was indeed a time when cultures collided, colors exploded, and a future with genuine multiculturalism was exhibited. Through booth displays, cultural presentations and working together, Asian migrant workers and the local people showed the meaning of the day’s message: We can live and work together.
local Chinese organizations set up multicultural connections booths for the public. The booths were inspired by their views on how the history and culture of Hong Kong and of countries where migrants are from are interconnected.
Fourteen organizations that include groups of migrant workers from the Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand and Nepal, as well as
Migrant organizations that worked hard in conceptualizing and decorating the booths also participated in a series of tours conducted at the HK Museum of
History, the Sun Yat-Sen Museum and the HK Heritage Museum the previous months. Booths displayed were educational, informational and filling to the eyes and, yes, even to the appetite. They included captioned pictures, graphic arts, traditional dresses, information on traditional practices and even food and drinks. The viewing public also sampled the pleasing dishes and drinks displayed. Chinese volunteers from various universities and from the St. Paulâ€™s College were very helpful in explaining the contents of the booths. They even tried out some of the dresses displayed and of course the scrumptious food prepared. Members of the Coalition of Service Providers for Ethnic Minorities (CSPEM) also set up an informational booth where they gave out materials and explained to the migrant workers the range of services they could avail of while living and working in Hong Kong. Traditional cultural presentations also enlivened and gave more colours to the program. Asian migrant groups showcased their traditional dances. Migrants from the Cordillera region in northern Philippines opened the multicultural connections exhibition with the traditional Pattong community dance while students from the Li Kau Yuan Memorial School opened the program with a Lion Dance to bring luck and good fortune not only to the event but also to the thrusts advanced by the participants. Aside from the Lion Dance, the students also did a martial arts exhibition that held the audience enthralled for it was the first time for many of those present to witness live such an undeniable part of the Chinese culture. A Filipino band closed the program with popular songs and made the audience dance in celebration of the very successful program for the day.
With the Multicultural Connections Carnival, the MFMW was able to deliver the positive message of harmonious co-existence. With this program, we hope that we made a contribution towards the promotion of multiculturalism and mutual understanding contribute to a better Hong Kong society.
Building a caring Hong Kong in words and in action O
n March 3, the Mission for Migrant Workers set up mobile caring centres that served more than 1,000 Asian migrants â€“ and even local Chinese â€“ with various kind of services that cater to their needs. As part of the Migrants Mutual Care and Support Network (MMCSN), the mobile caring centres were set up and operated by various organizations, both of migrants and locals, all to provide free services to the public. Among the services offered were health and wellness related such as blood pressure check and blood glucose check, which proved to be very popular among migrant workers. Massage by those trained in reflexology as well as Thai massage were also offered for relaxation and to ease body pains. Another popular health service was that by a trained chiropractor who rendered it for free. The chiropractor was an employer of a migrant worker who introduced to him the project of the MFMW and got him interested to volunteer. A drinking station was also set up where the public could get water and coffee while looking through public exhibitions or watching cultural presentations in the Multicultural Connections Carnival. An internet hub was also put up to enable migrants to talk for a while to their loved ones in their home country. With the Mission Volunteers (MOVERS) and welfare officers of migrant organizations being trained for basic welfare assistance, the Mobile Counseling service was able to serve more than 100 migrants who approached their booth to ask questions about their problems, seek clarifications, or directly seek assistance. The mobile caring centres were all well appreciated by those who availed of the services. With such enthusiastic response, the MFMW is even more eager to launch more similar projects or even more innovative initiatives to respond to the needs of migrant workers.
Giving thanks and a pledge of service Celebrating the 32nd Anniversary of the MFMW
he Multicultural Connections Carnival was also an occasion for the Mission for Migrant Workers to celebrate 32 years of service for the migrant workers in Hong Kong. A Thanksgiving Mass was held in the morning to express the solemn appreciation of the MFMW in having gone far in its mission. The Very Rev. Matthias Der, Dean of the St. John’s Cathedral graced the event and gave an inspiring message for the MFMW to continue its work. With the people around the MFMW with a sincere heart for migrant workers, the MFMW is confident that our work shall continue. Providing quality and responsive services, promoting empowerment and developing the self-help and mutual aid capacity of migrant workers, spreading the concern for human rights and social justice – these have been the thrusts of the MFMW since it was established in 1981. Throughout its 32 years of existence, the MFMW has been striving to in its work. As Ms. Cynthia Abdon-Tellez, general manager of the MFMW said, “Mission is still on the right path. We made progresses and even strides in our service delivery, programs for empowerment, and formation of support networks locally and outside of Hong Kong.” The MFMW is now the oldest existing of its kind in
Asia and possibly in the world. Such feat was achieved by the MFMW with the support of groups and individuals in Hong Kong and overseas who believed in the thrusts and work of the MFMW. Thus, we gave thanks … … to the St. John’s Cathedral , the Love Ideas, Love Hong Kong program of the Li Ka Shing Foundation, the HK Far East Masonic Benevolence Fund, HerFund, and the host of previous other donors in Hong Kong; … to the Church of Sweden, Evangelisches Missionswerk, the Women’s World Day of Prayer, Bank of America Charitable Foundation Donor Advised Fund at Give2Asia (USA), General Board of Global Ministries - United Methodist Church (USA), The Episcopal Church (USA), United Methodist Women, and more donors in the past of the MFMW overseas; … to the dedicated staff, interns and volunteers; … to countless other individuals and groups in Hong Kong and overseas; … and most importantly to the migrant workers who have never wavered in their belief to services of the MFMW and who continue to be the inspiration of the MFMW for its work. The message of the day, the learnings earned by those who participated and the fun that everyone had – these were more than reasons for the MFMW to strive even harder to reach our objectives for the migrants and for the people.