Hong Kong mumpreneur, Shirley Johnson, is dedicating her Lantau Ren “Tshirts for Good” line this month to raise funds for 10,000 hours of financial and empowerment education for migrant domestic workers at Enrich. On top of this, she hopes that she can raise awareness and appreciation of migrant domestic workers. She shares her story with us:
As a mother myself, I appreciate, our helper, Valerie’s work to support my family and our home. Monday is truly the new Sunday for me! I think that many Hong Kong employers share my sentiment that our helpers are important members of our families. This is why I wanted to design the “Super Aunties” t-shirt and create a fun way for employers to show their appreciation for their helpers. I also wanted to use it as an opportunity to support Enrich who provided critical support to Valerie to manage her debts and now to save and plan for the future.
I am aiming raise funds to support 10,000 hours of financial education for Enrich’s 10th Anniversary this year, through the sale of our special edition ‘Super Aunty’ t-shirt and others in the T-shirts for Good collection. For every t-shirt sold, HK$40 will be donated to Enrich.
I first came to know about Enrich when Valerie came to me a few months into working with us to ask for a big loan. We had decided to pay her an above average salary so this came as a surprise. In that moment, I came to realise that an employer’s generosity is not enough and that she needed more support on managing money. I went on a search and found Enrich, which had exactly the help we needed.
Valerie is the mother of three beautiful children. In order to support them, she left the Philippines when her youngest was still barely walking. Like many other domestic workers who are homesick for their loved ones, Valerie had been sending almost every dollar she made home. Feeling guilty for being far away from her children, Valerie couldn’t bring herself to question how the money was being spent. For the five years Valerie has been working away from her children, she has not been able to save anything.
When Valerie asked me for the loan I knew that if I turned her away, she would have to look for other options that may possibly land us with loans sharks and debt collectors at our doorstep. Domestic workers can easily qualify for loans of HK$40,000+ at private lenders and be charged up to 60% interest p.a.. I made the careful decision to lend her the money with the stipulation that she attend Enrich’s ‘Money Wise Migrants’ financial literacy workshop. Lending her the money was one thing, but what she really needed was the tools and skills to manage money better.
18 months later, at the end of our first contract, not only has Valerie paid off all her debt to us, she has saved enough to start planning building her very own house in the Philippines. She went on to take more of Enrich’s workshops, including ‘Setting Up My Business’ entrepreneurship workshop. Valerie now dreams to open her own bakery back home. She hopes to employ her daughters and break the cycle of generations working overseas as domestic workers.
We are very happy to begin a second contract with Valerie and happy for her new-found confidence in managing her finances and for her family’s future.
Our “Super Aunties” do so much for our families and homes, these t-shirts are a way to show our appreciation and support our helpers with essential money management skills and tools.
‘Super Auntie’ t-shirts are available at Lantau Ren: here.
by Shirley Johnson, Owner of Lantau Ren
*Name has been changed for privacy reasons.
2017 is Enrich’s 10 Anniversary year. For 10 years we have been educating and empowering migrant domestic workers to change the ways they and their families manage money to achieve a more financially stable future. Learn more about our programmes: here.
Thank you to Shirley for sharing her story and for supporting the economic empowerment of migrant domestic workers. Purchase a “Super Auntie” t-shirt: here.