Volunteer for Helpers for Domestic Helpers

12 Jan

hdh
In 2016, there are more than 340,000 Foreign Domestics Workers in Hong Kong. Filipinos comprise the majority, followed by Indonesians. The remainder is made up of Thais and other Asians.

Helpers for Domestic Helpers (HDH) is a non profit organization that provides free advice and assistance on employment, immigration and human rights issues to domestic workers in Hong Kong.

Their mission is to ensure that every domestic worker in Hong Kong, irrespective of race, nationality, religion or gender, has access to justice and receives equal and fair treatment before the law. Every year, HDH deals with more than 1,000 new clients and respond to an average of 3,500 requests for telephone and face to face consultations and assistance.

HDH was originally founded in 1989 by a small group of lawyers who worshipped at St John’s Cathedral, where Filipino domestic workers are a substantial part of the congregation. The lawyers recognised a widespread need for free legal counselling and practical assistance for domestic helpers who could seldom afford the professional services of a private lawyer. The work began informally, with Sunday “clinics” in Cathedral premises to which helpers could bring their problems and receive help in resolving them. The operation soon became full-time, operating under a small core of full-time staff as the demand for its services increased beyond the capacity of just a few volunteers.

Over the years, HDH has assisted thousands of domestic helpers in distress – over 1,700 new clients in 2013 alone – and helped recover millions of dollars in compensation through the courts or by direct intervention.

The services HDH provides include:
hdh2– Explaining to domestic workers their legal rights and guiding them in pursuing claims in the Labour Tribunal and other Courts;
– Giving advice in cases where a domestic helper is accused of a criminal offence which, typically, will be one arising from or otherwise connected with their immigration status or employment;
– Assisting domestic helpers to draft witness statements and Court documents for use in Court proceedings;
– Preparing clients for conciliation meetings and Court hearings;
– Liaising with various Government agencies including the Police, Immigration and Labour Departments about clients’ cases; and
– Writing letters to employers and recruitment agencies on behalf of clients and helping to negotiate settlement agreements when possible, to avoid protracted litigations.
– Assisting in the recovery of personal belongings and other documents unlawfully taken from them.
– Assisting clients in recovery of excessive and unlawful commission (placement fees) paid to employment agencies.

What you can do to help
Are you interested in making a difference in the community? Last year, HDH helped over 1,700 domestic workers access justice and provided them with free advice and support, with the help of pro bono lawyers from various international law firms in Hong Kong. HDH is looking for volunteers to help them continue this important work and they are especially keen to hear from volunteers who have the following skills and experience:
– Grant Writing
– Advocacy
– Translation (especially Tagalog, Bahasa Indonesia, Malagasi, Cantonese or Mandarin)
– Office Administration
– Fundraising
– Event Management
– Media, PR or Communication

If you can contribute in one or more of these categories, please send your CV/resumé and the Volunteer Application Form to Holly Allan at HDH@stjohnscathedral.org.hk with ‘Volunteer Applicant’ in the subject line.

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