Blog

Why do refugees need cash?

May 30th, 2021 | Advocacy | Comment

Refugees need cash donations to meet daily costs that residents might take for granted. We prepared these four tables to illustrate how refugees might spend the cash they receive from the Refugee Union thanks to the generous support of residents like you!

Few realize that the government assistance is not “cash in pocket”. These amounts are disbursed to landlords and Park’n’Shop with the goal of preventing refugees from getting any money. In other words, landlords and Park’n’Shop collect the allowances to shelter and feed refugees who are not trusted to handle cash. 

Only the transportation allowance is disbursed in cash though it is calculated exactly for the official monthly appointments (i.e. Immigration, welfare, lawyers) by the cheapest bus route from their home. Admittedly, some refugees pocket the money by walking which is often impractical as they live in remove districts. 

Since January 2014 the government assistance consists of:  

– HK$ 1500 for RENT paid directly to landlords of subdivided rooms;
– HK$   300 for UTILITIES paid directly to landlords of subdivided rooms;
– HK$ 1200 for FOOD in prepaid cards from Park’n’Shop (not for cleaning/sanitary items);
– HK$   200 for TRANSPORTATION to official visits such as Immigration, welfare and legal.

Therefore refugees don’t receive any CASH for personal spending which makes it very hard to survive on a daily basis. Besides, they are not allowed to work, under threat of 22.5 months in jail. How would you cope?

PLEASE DONATE TO HELP REFUGEES TODAY!
https://go.sparkraise.com/fundraise-basic-needs-refugee-union

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April Roundup

May 6th, 2021 | Advocacy | Comment

Refugee Union was founded in 2014 with visions to safeguard refugee rights. Since day one, we have been organising diversified programmes with our community partners to improve the well-being and prospect of our members who are asylum seekers and refugees stranded in Hong Kong.

Help Us Secure a New Centre

We have enjoyed a free office space in Sai Ying Pun since 2014 where many of you visited. However, the pandemic struck and our fortune changed. Soon we will be homeless …

We are now fundraising for a new centre in Lai Chi Kok and we humbly seek your help to spread the word and support our cause.

Screenshot 2021-05-06 at 05.01.51
Activities Happened in Our Centre

While we are planning to move, we continue to serve the local refugee community. 

This month we were thrilled to host our friends from Watermark Community Church and students from Chinese International School. We look forward to collaborating with them soon.

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Donations Keep Going

This month we received donations of wide-ranging items, which include but not limited to daily necessities and personal protective equipment.

175715304_2910340785878593_3110020269065971838_n

We would like to take this opportunity expressing our heartfelt gratitude to all Donors for their kind-hearted and generous support. As always, we promise to deliver all donations we received to our members who are in need.

Please stay tuned to our official website and social media pages (Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter) for the updates. You are also welcome to contact us by visiting our office or sending us an email at info@refugeeunion.org should you have any enquiry.

Fundraise for basic needs at Refugee Union

May 5th, 2021 | Food, Fundraising, Health, Housing, RU updates, programs, events | Comment

Refugee Union is the only registered refugee-led society in Hong Kong. Our society receives no government, institutional or corporate support. We have 1000+ active members from 30 countries, including 200+ children and babies.

Our services are greatly limited by the donations we receive. For example, when we don’t have diapers for newborn babies, some mothers will not visit the centre as they must borrow money for transportation.

While we are thankful for our wonderful donor’s support, the welfare provided by the government is manifestly insufficient to meet the basic needs of refugees who have no money and are not allowed to work. You might have read about them before, but the statistics are worth repeating: HK$ 1500 for rent, HK$ 1200 for food, HK$ 300 for utilities and HK$ 200 for public transportation monthly. (https://bit.ly/2PJ8zDp)

We are entirely dependent on your generosity to fill gaps in welfare implemented by the government with the aim “not to create a magnet effect which could have serious implication on … immigration control” – as if local refugees must suffer as a warning to others not to seek asylum in Hong Kong. (https://bit.ly/3egREBH)

We are banned from working under Section 38AA of the Immigration Ordinance. We sign a document agreeing to this restriction when released from detention and it includes any work, paid or unpaid. The High Court case setting the sentencing tariff is “Usman Butt HCMA 70/2010” wherein the starting point is 22.5 months after trial, with 15 months for guilty pleas. These are typically followed by weeks/months in immigration detention. (https://bit.ly/336OwBX)

We plead for your financial support to:

  1. Pay transportation fees to collect donations at our centre;
  2. Pay for emergency shelter when members are occasionally homeless;
  3. Purchase diapers and baby milk formula (donations are limited, i.e. only stage 3 formula);
  4. Purchase food staples like rice, milk and canned food to supplement diets;
  5. Pay for school supplies and costs not covered by the Education Bureau;
  6. Supplement rent and electricity for families who do not receive enough assistance;
  7. Purchase rice-cookers and portable gas stoves not supplied by the government;
  8. Buy clothes and shoes required by members who need specific sizes;
  9. Purchase surgical masks and sanitizers necessary under the pandemic.
  10. Pay for medicines that are not supplied by hospital emergency rooms (our only option);

The fact is that our needs should be met by the government as we are left to live in the city without the right to work, but the reality is that refugees are turned into full-time beggars resigned to ask for help everywhere we go. Churches and NGOs do their best to assist with available resources, but nobody can help everyone all the time. Many of our members have been here for over a decade.

For these reasons we humbly appeal for your financial help!

We would be most grateful if you could contribute to this crowdfunding so that we can support more members and show that many Hongkongers understand our predicament and are willing to assist us in our hour of need.

SHAREABLE LINK:  https://go.sparkraise.com/fundraise-basic-needs-refugee-union

Fundraise for basic needs at RU

March Roundup

Apr 4th, 2021 | Advocacy | Comment

Refugee Union was founded in 2014 with visions to safeguard refugee rights. Since day one, we have been organising diversified programmes with our community partners to improve the well-being and prospect of our members who are asylum seekers and refugees stranded in Hong Kong.

Help Us Secure a New Centre

We have enjoyed a free office space in Sai Ying Pun since 2014 where many of you visited. However, the pandemic struck and our fortune changed. Soon we will be homeless …

We are now fundraising for a new centre in Lai Chi Kok and we humbly seek your help to spread the word and support our cause. Please lend us a helping hand.

Fundraising

Activities Happened in Our Centre

While we are planning to move, we continue to serve the local refugee community. This month we were thrilled to host groups of students from Hong Kong’s universities. We enjoyed having intellectual discussion with these bright-minded young people and look forward to collaborating with them soon.

HKU Students

Donations Keep Going

Apart from activities, this month we also received donations of wide-ranging items, which include but not limited to daily necessities (e.g. food, clothes and shoes) and personal protective equipment (e.g. surgical masks and hand sanitisers).

Donation

We would like to take this opportunity expressing our heartfelt gratitude to all Donors for their kind-hearted and generous support. As always, we promise to deliver all donations we received to our members who are in need.

Please stay tuned to our official website and social media pages (Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter) for the updates. You are also welcome to contact us by visiting our office or sending us an email at info@refugeeunion.org should you have any enquiry.

Unique services offered by the Refugee Union

Mar 26th, 2021 | Refugee Community, RU updates, programs, events | Comment

These are the unique services Refugee Union provides to its members and Hong Kong residents:

  1. We offer refugees accurate information on seeking asylum and practical guidance on surviving day-to-day despite the 99% immigration rejection rate and insufficient welfare assistance;
     
  2. We provide a welcoming “community centre” where refugees share experiences, support and learn from each other without being judged, observed or otherwise influenced;
     
  3. We receive donations from residents, schools and universities, companies and restaurants as well as NGOs that fill gaps in the government assistance that does not include clothes, shoes, sufficient food, baby products, telecom equipment and toiletries (i.e.. shaving cream and pads);
     
  4. We are a “home away from home” where refugees freely hang-out and enjoy some comfort away from the small, subdivided often windowless rooms that we rent and often share with others;
     
  5. We are a collection, sorting and storage location for donation drives which are often voluminous and cannot be delivered to individual homes. Here we collect what we need, when we need it;
     
  6. We are a place for residents and volunteers to connect directly with refugees, learn first hand about the challenges of seeking asylum and explore ways to support our society and community;
     
  7. After the pandemic, we will resume weekly classes that enhance our lives, such as: Cantonese, English, homework support, arts and crafts, breastfeeding as well as programs offered by other organizations and volunteers;
     
  8. At the new centre, we will expand food services with a canteen where refugees can have a meal before collecting donations or after attending classes;
     
  9. At the new centre, we will create a “marketplace” to sell donations we do not need but have value, such as small items like lamps, car seats, decorative items, books and toys;
     
  10. At the new centre, we can manage corporate donations from food distributors, baby and health products wholesalers and restaurants which we currently cannot manage;
Unique services offered by RU

Life lessons from a different classroom

Mar 21st, 2021 | Food, Media, Personal Experiences | Comment

Life lessons from a different classroom

Crowdfunding campaign for a new centre

Mar 18th, 2021 | RU updates, programs, events | Comment

Refugee Union is the only registered refugee-led society in Hong Kong. We have 1000+ members from 30 countries, including 200+ babies and children. Our services are limited by the donations we receive. We are entirely dependent on residents’ support as we are prohibited from working under threat of 15 months in prison. Our society receives no government, institutional or corporate support. The government provides us with HK$ 3200 for rent, food, utilities and transport monthly.

Since 2014 we enjoyed a free office space in Sai Ying Pun which many of you visited. Then Covid-19 struck and our fortune changed! 

Soon we will be homeless, so we humbly seek your financial assistance to secure a warehouse in Lai Chi Kok with a budget of HK$ 10,000 a month.

 

https://go.sparkraise.com/refugee-union-new-centre
 
Crowdfunding campaign - 18Mar2021

Drink For Justice – 17 April 2021 @Bella Lee

Mar 18th, 2021 | RU updates, programs, events | Comment

Let’s overcome social and ethnic divides! Join us to make new friends and promote genuine solidarity while drinking for justice
After a long and unfortunate hiatus, Drink For Justice returns to celebrate a joyful get together
Meet us for an evening of laughs, music, games and a free-flow of wine, beer and special cocktails! Let’s overcome social and ethnic divides, make new friends and promote genuine solidarity one drink at the time
Bring your friends and join us to the most meaningful free-flow event in town. Proceeds will go towards supporting the Refugee Union move to a new Community Centre
 
  
DFJ Event at Bella Lee - 17Apr2021

We are most grateful to our charity partners

Mar 13th, 2021 | Food, Health, RU Opinion, RU updates, programs, events | Comment

We are grateful to our charity partners for the awesome support offered to our members who struggle below the poverty line with insufficient welfare and no right to work
We could not provide our service to refugees without your assistance – Thank you
 
The Amber Foundation
Hands on Hong Kong
Foodlink
Redress
Grassroots Future
Bliss & Bless 
Rebook 
The Zubin Foundation
Crafty Charity Shop
Sparkraise
Sunshine Action
Feeding Hong Kong
Soap Cycling 
… and more!
 
Thanking charity partners

February Roundup

Mar 1st, 2021 | Advocacy | Comment

Refugee Union was founded in 2014 with visions to safeguard refugee rights. Since day one, we have been organising diversified programmes with our community partners to improve the well-being and prospect of our members who are asylum seekers and refugees stranded in Hong Kong.

Activities Happened in Our Centre

It is Lunar New Year this February. We wish everyone happiness, prosperity and success in the Year of Ox.

Cover Photo

This month we had a number of activities organised in our centre.

On 1 February, we were thrilled to have HandsOn Hong Kong visiting us and delivering Lunar New Year care packages to refugee families. Thank you very much for your continued support!

HandsOnHK

On 8 February, we were honoured to have Ms. Heather Li holding a breastfeeding consultation session for refugee mothers. Thank you for the useful information and we have learned a lot from you.

Heather Li

On 24 February, we were delighted to have volunteers from Grassroots Future teaching our members crochet and craft. Thank you for bringing us these interesting and educational activities. We all had a fun afternoon.

Grassroots

On 28 February, we were thankful to a group of Hong Kong alumni from The Bishop Strachan School at Toronto, Canada for doing a charity walk for our centre. Your care and support mean a lot to us.

Charity Walk

This month we also hosted students from The University of Hong Kong and Hong Kong Baptist University. We enjoyed having intellectual discussion with all these bright minded young people. We look forward to collaborating with you soon.

Uni

Donations Keep Going

This month we received donations of wide-ranging items, which include but not limited to daily necessities and personal protective equipment such as surgical masks and hand sanitisers.

We would like to take this opportunity expressing our heartfelt gratitude to all Donors for their kind-hearted and generous support. As always, we promise to deliver all donations we received to our members who are in need.

End

Please stay tuned to our official website and social media pages (Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter) for the updates. You are also welcome to contact us by visiting our office or sending us an email at info@refugeeunion.org should you have any enquiry.

 

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