Lasting Impact Delivered by OSC - Story of Bethune House Migrant Women's Refuge
Just like the other 350,000 migrant domestic workers in the city, Jenny travelled for miles to work in Hong Kong. She wanted to provide a better future for her family by working and sending money back home. Unfortunately, this didn’t go to plan and her experience was not a positive one...
Jenny was physically assaulted by her employer, which led to a complex eight month legal case. She got in touch with Bethune House Migrant Women’s Refuge, a charity which supports domestic workers. During the case, Bethune House provided Jenny with food, shelter, legal assistance and counselling. She recalls, “Before coming to Bethune House, I didn’t know my rights as a domestic worker. The staff educated me about my contract and I learned how to advocate myself. Bethune House gave me a safe place where I had food and proper rest. I gained friends, knowledge and handicraft skills. I also gained so much weight there! But I was happy and relaxed.”
Jenny’s case has a happy ending; her employer was fined and she was able to find a new job. Bethune House also further assisted both Jenny and her new employer by helping to process her contract directly with the Philippine Consulate so that no recruitment agency fees were paid.
The story highlights just how vital charities like Bethune House are, which is why Operation Santa Claus supported the charity by raising money for resources in 2013 and again in 2016. It’s had a lasting impact on Jenny, too, who explains, “Now, I volunteer to help educate other migrant workers in Hong Kong. I am happy with my new job, my employers are good and they treat me well.”