23 Feb 2012

Lunch meeting: Ms. Kylie Uebergang to talk about “Migrant Children Matters"

The speaker today was Ms. Kylie Uebergang to talk about “Migrant Children Matter”.  Kylie Uebergang is the Executive Director and a Cofounder of PathFinders, a registered charity in Hong Kong that ensures all migrant children born in HK receive a fair start in life.  Kylie will discuss the community that PathFinders serves, the problems they face and services and solutions that PathFinders provide. Prior to working with non-profit organizations, Kylie worked in Corporate Advisory Financial Services in Melbourne, Vancouver, and Hong Kong.  A native of Australia, Kylie has been living in Hong Kong since 1999.

Kylie said, “Every migrant child born in Hong Kong should have a fair start in life.  We support and empower migrant mothers with Hong Kong born children to make informed life decisions and find a dignified path home”.  90% of all migrants in HK are Foreign Domestic Helpers (Foreign Helpers); other migrants include new arrivals from mainland, ethnic minorities, sex workers, slave brides, visitor visa arrivals, etc.

Helpers in Hong Kong vulnerability to exploitation because of passports and employment contracts are confiscated, Agency arrange loans to cover fees outside of HK law and Immigration conditions of stay (“2 week rule”) discourages finding new employment.  When the helpers pregnancy, they may face contract termination upon pregnancy even though it is unfair and illegal, fear of returning home, overstay visa, become undocumented, can’t access services and child born without documentation and support.  Therefore, they provide services as medical, counselling, shelters and supplies, professional advice and referral, education and documentation.  PathFinders have assisted over 800 migrant pregnant women, mothers and children in the years 2008 thru 2011 and they need volunteer and funding to continue their service.

PP George collected HK$580 for raffle and fines.  Rtn Chris got the raffle prize as a bottle of red wine.