Awesome resources for Hong Kong’s hardworking aunties. By Kate Farr.
With around one in three Hong Kong families employing a Foreign Domestic Worker, it’s fair to say that this city relies heavily on its aunties. We take a look at some of the resources available to helpers in Hong Kong, enabling them to thrive at work while making the most of their precious downtime.
Fair Employment Agency
Many helpers find themselves subject to punitive, often illegal agency fees, leaving them no choice but to borrow large sums of money in order to secure a job. Trapped in a cycle of repayment, many become vulnerable to abuse and exploitation.
The non-profit Fair Employment Agency is working to break this cycle by ensuring that, as with most other professions, it is the employers rather than the helpers who are liable for agency fees. Its newly launched FAIR Hong Kong app (available on both Android and iOS) enables both helpers and employers to understand their legal obligations and entitlements, calculate benefits such as annual leave and termination pay, and check statutory holidays.
For more information see fairfoundation.org.hk.
Another free-for-helpers ethical employment platform is HelperChoice, which has an extensive candidate database, as well as matching and shortlisting tools that allow both parties to find their perfect match.
For more information see helperchoice.com.
Enrich is a charity that helps migrant workers become financially secure. It offers financial advice and training courses that focus on budgeting, saving and investment. Employers can sponsor a helper’s financial education, while the MoneyWise app (Android and iOS) supports longer-term goal-setting and planning.
For more information see enrichhk.org.
A Helping Hand
The brainchild of Singaporean writer Frog Michaels, “A Helping Hand” is a bilingual English-Tagalog cookbook, packed full of easy-to-follow Western and Asian recipes. As well as being an ingenious idea that eliminates cross-cultural kitchen confusion, proceeds from the book’s sale in Hong Kong are donated to Pathfinders, a local charity supporting vulnerable migrant women and their children.
Available from Bookazine and via www.blondemedia.asia/books.
There is an increasing number of fun group activities, many free of charge, that are exclusively for helpers.
My Little Hong Kong Kitchen
For Instagram-worthy family meals, look no further than Hong Kong food blogger Laura Williams’ cooking classes. Williams, who runs the My Little Hong Kong Kitchen blog, hosts weekly classes focusing on nutritious, wholesome and tasty dishes that the whole family will love.
Classes cost $450 including take-home recipe cards. For more information search “My Little Hong Kong Kitchen Helper Cooking Classes” on Facebook.
Island School’s Helpers’ School is an initiative in partnership with the non-profit advice and education service Helpers for Domestic Helpers. Offering a wide range of fun and educational sessions ranging from business management to Zumba, these free classes are facilitated by Island School students and take place at St John’s Cathedral in Central.
For more information search “Helpers’ School at Island” on Facebook.
Splash offers free 12-week beginner-level swimming programmes for helpers on Sunday afternoons in Tai Tam and Braemar Hill, with a Discovery Bay programme in the works.
Another fee-free fitness option is Pherform’s twice-weekly “Dream Team” outdoor sessions at Tamar Park. With around 40-60 women joining each session, this is a great social workout. To support those who want to get serious about their fitness, Pherform is launching a new online coaching programme in Tagalog, led by trainers Alex de Fina and Leslie Evangelista. There’s an initial seven-day free trial, with subsequent subscription costing US$9.95 per week, making this a great gift.
For more information search “Pherform Dream Team” on Facebook.
Andiappan Yoga Community
Sharing the benefits of Yoga, the Andiappan Yoga Community offers free weekly helpers’ classes at convenient locations in Central, Stanley and Discovery Bay.
AJ Fitness is a Tung Chung-based personal trainer who puts on free Sunday morning outdoor workout sessions for helpers.
And finally, share your love for your family’s own superhero with a “Super Aunty” tee from local lifestyle website Lantau Ren. Every tee sold includes a HK$40 donation to financial literacy charity, Enrich.
Available from lantauren.com.