“I pray to God and the burdens on my coronary heart are lifted.” I am browsing with some workers from the Philippines who have collected together with hundreds of their countrywomen in Hong Kong’s Statue Sq.. There are groups experiencing each other’s firm almost everywhere you seem. Some are consuming, going to, taking part in cards, styling one another’s hair and investing romance novels. Other individuals are praying, looking through their Bibles and singing hymns. There are an estimated one hundred twenty,000 feminine personnel from the Philippines residing in Hong Kong. Most are used as maids for the city’s rich family members. These ‘helpers’ ( the frequent expression for domestic laborers in Hong Kong) are predicted to function twenty 4 hrs a working day, six days a week, but authorities regulations dictate they must be given twelve consecutive hours of cost-free time each and every Sunday. Considering that the girls can not find the money for to go to motion pictures or consume in dining places on their day off, they get in Hong Kong’s teach stations and parks or outside general public structures.

A single Sunday early morning I went down to the heart of Hong Kong’s business district to devote some time chatting with the Filipino girls in a central plaza there. A single team conveniently agreed to enable me just take their photograph and when I informed them I was producing a tale for a journal they had been pleased to answer some inquiries.

The 10 females I spoke with all occur from the identical rural location in the Philippines. They perform in residences in distinct sections of Hong Kong but on Sundays they satisfy at St. Joseph’s Cathedral located in the Central district. Soon after mass, which St. Joseph’s celebrates in Tagalong, the language of the Philippines, they collect on the porch of the around by Hong Kong regulation courts developing. They distribute newspapers on its cement floor to sit down on, and then invest the afternoon consuming and going to. They explain to me they are devout Catholics and their religion in God is what will help them survive the separation from their families in the Philippines and the often cruel and indifferent therapy of their businesses. “I pray to God and the burdens on my heart are lifted” 1 woman tells me passionately, as she lifts her arms and eyes heavenward.

As we check out I uncover some of the females in the group have been listed here for as tiny as four months while other people have lived in Hong Kong for as lengthy as twelve many years. Most have young young children at house and are college educated. They are nurses, teachers, physiotherapists, pharmacists, computer programmers and organization women. They communicate several languages. However they can make 3 moments more funds in Hong Kong than they can working towards their professions in the Philippines. They explain to me they require cash to shell out for their kid’s schooling. “To give our little ones hope for the future”, one particular lady suggests. They all send out a considerable part of their salary residence to their households.

There are many various church groups and businesses in Hong Kong which seek out to provide the Filipina ladies operating in the metropolis. I spoke with Sue Farley who is on the board of administrators for an outreach software operated by the American Baptist Planet Evangelism organization. They open the premises of a nearby Bible Higher education on Sundays so the Filipino ladies can meet up with there and get element in Sunday Faculty lessons and a worship support. They have a fulltime director, a female from the Philippines, who develops interactions with the females who show up at and acts as an advocate for them when needed.

Not all businesses handle their Filipino maids as they ought to. “They actually have amazing energy more than the ladies” states Farley. She tells me that often the domestic helpers have already been taken benefit of by unscrupulous middlemen in the Philippines who cost them exorbitant charges for function visas and transportation to Hong Kong. As a consequence they get there in the town already owing a large volume of cash. If they land up with an employer who is not kind they wait to report them to the authorities. They need to maintain their work to shell out again their travel mortgage and ship income home to their family members who are relying on them. “It is not that hard for businesses to crack their contracts with Filipino ladies”, Farley informs me. 請菲傭 “And they are not able to stay here in Hong Kong except if they have complete time work.” It is simple to see why frequently women tolerate the abuse of their companies fairly than get legal motion against them.

Farley tells me that some women are sexually harassed. One particular maid confided she slips a chair beneath the knob of the doorway in her space just before heading to bed, to preserve her manager out. Other individuals usually are not as lucky due to the fact they have to rest on a mat on the kitchen area floor. One particular of the Filipino women I spoke to mentioned she sleeps on the ground amongst the beds of the young children in the home the place she is employed. That same maid instructed me she is often hungry. “I can only take in what is still left over following my companies have had dinner.”

Ms. Farley says her business will assist the Filipino girls lodge complaints against businesses who violate the govt regulations which utilize to migrant employees. “We go to court with them or aid them file petitions with the Labor Board.”

Ms. Farley is notably amazed with the Filipino girls from their mission who choose to devote their treasured Sundays off achieving out to their fellow countrywomen. “They visit the parks and squares”, suggests Ms. Farley, “and invite other folks to our church services. They offer you to pray with individuals who seem to be lonely and lengthen friendship and a listening ear to those who have considerations and troubles.”

Yet another organization that offers assistance to the Filipino females is Bethune Property, named after Canadian Norman Bethune. He was a medical physician from Canada who cared for each Chinese troopers and civilians for the duration of the war against the Japanese in the late 1930’s. Bethune died in China in 1939. Staffed by volunteers from a selection of Christian denominations Bethune House provides shelter and lawful and pastoral council to migrant women who have been abused by their businesses. It is one particular a lot more way the Christian group in Hong Kong seeks to attain out to their sisters from the Philippines who are ‘strangers in a unusual land’.

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