Volunteer for Health in Action

3 Aug

Asylum seekers and refugees (ASRs) have limited rights in Hong Kong and they are a group of marginalized and ignored population. Due to the backlog of the screening process, it is not unusual for an ASR to stay in Hong Kong for years, some of them have stayed in Hong Kong for over ten years. They are prohibited to engage in any form of businesses or jobs, except in rare exceptions. During the lengthy screening process and long waiting time, ASRs can only live under limited government and NGO subsidies. Despite their long stay, they are often detached from the society and there is little public awareness of their presence in the city.

Health in Action is a humanitarian organization established in 2011 in Hong Kong, with a focus in promoting community health and wellbeing through the empowerment of underprivileged populations in Hong Kong and in Southeast Asia. Their work is rooted in the core belief that every human being has the right to health. They offer support to people based on health needs, irrespective of race, religion, gender or political affiliation. Health In Action is a registered charity in Hong Kong and is a member of the Hong Kong Council of Social Service.

Health In Action advocates health equity for the underprivileged, including ASRs in Hong Kong. The right to health implies that the government should provide accessible and acceptable basic healthcare to all living in the city. This also includes other health-related services such as nutritious food and safe housing etc. The right to health enshrined in international human rights treaties, such as International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, is applicable to Hong Kong. ASRs can attend basic medical services at public hospitals with their fees waived. However, experience from ASRs show that there are multiple factors hindering their health care access, including cultural differences, language barrier, lack of awareness of health needs and financial constraints. All these impose negative effects on the physical and mental health of ASRs.

What you can do to help:
Volunteers are Health in Action’s core valuable assets. Their committed team of multi-disciplinary volunteers is continuously expanding, with professionals including doctors, nurses, pharmacists, dietitians, occupational therapists, clinical psychologists, social workers, lawyers and more. University students are also a crucial part of their taskforce. Health in Action welcomes volunteers of all backgrounds and experiences to join them in working towards health equity.

If you are interested in joining Health in Action as a volunteer, please do not hesitate to let them know by emailing hia@hia.org.hk.

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