Wow! I can’t believe it has been almost eight months since my last post on this site. This brief hiatus coincided with me starting a new job with RUN. It was my pleasure sharing my travels to Rwanda for nearly three years as the Chief of Staff for the Akilah Institute. I loved that role and I loved working in higher education in East Africa, but I am thrilled that I have now found a new job working for a charity in Hong Kong and that is a fulfilling role with a mission driven organisation.
Rebuild Unite Nurture
RUN (Rebuild, Unite, Nurture) is a Hong Kong charity that rehabilitates refugees and asylum seekers through sports and education. There are over 7,000 refugees and asylum seekers in Hong Kong, but sadly, they are often overlooked. While this site will remain focused on food, travel, and motherhood, I do hope to spread awareness about refugees and also share their beautiful cultures and impressive achievements too.
Just under half of RUN’s participants have been recognised as refugees, while statistics show that less than 1% of asylum seekers have their claims substantiated in Hong Kong. This rejection rate of 99.4% of claims is one of the highest in the world. Those 1% of asylum seekers who are granted refugee status still cannot stay in Hong Kong permanently and must be resettled to the US, Canada, or Australia and it is not uncommon to wait for 5 years or more.
While they wait, refugees and asylum seekers have no right to work and must live off of 1200 HKD (~153 USD) per month in food coupons and 1500 HKD (~192 USD) per month in rent paid directly to the landlord.
Luckily there are NGOs like RUN that help to fill the gap for the needs of this community. And the impact RUN is making is already evident (read more on RUN’s impact).
My New Job
My new job supports overall programme operations, but I focus mainly on our education programme for adult refugees. This spring I was proud to lead the launch our PATHS for the Future education programme and all of our participants are now studying.
As only 1% of refugees worldwide will be resettled by the UN, RUN’s programmes rebuild the mental and physical strength of refugees and open pathways to alternatives to resettlement so we can build a better future for refugees and their families wherever that may be.
Recently we commemorated World Refugee Day, but it was just another day for the refugees at RUN who are forced to wait in limbo for years. In 2018, every 2 seconds a person was forced to flee their home, bringing the total to 70.8 million people forcibly displaced worldwide. Half of these are children.
Now knowing and supporting a small portion of this community in Hong Kong, these numbers are even more horrifying. Many are parents. Some arrived alone as minors. Others are parents but separated from their children. Regardless they are the most resilient people I know and I’m proud to stand with refugees.