In addition to our 10th year anniversary, this year also sees the one-year anniversary of Enrich’s latest workshop: Money Wise Newcomers. This workshop was especially developed for newly arrived migrants to provide support and information and as well as develop the necessary skills for managing their finances while working in Hong Kong.
Our experience from working with migrant domestic workers over the past 10 years has found that many of the women that arrive in Hong Kong encounter significant financial struggles during their time here. A 2016 report by Farsight found that half of all domestic migrant workers arrive in Hong Kong with an average debt of HKD$15,000, usually as a result of illegal recruitment and/or training fees. With the minimum salary of just over HKD$4000 per month, it is not difficult to imagine the challenge of paying off this debt whilst also paying for cost of living here in Hong Kong and supporting family members back home. This amount of debt can be extremely debilitating and for many women this is the start of a perpetual spiral of debt making it extremely difficult to save enough money to one day return home.
Enrich is working hard to prevent this from happening through our Money Wise Newcomers workshop. During this workshop newly arrived women are provided with the necessary information and skills to ensure effective financial planning and encourage a goal-focused and savings mindset.
Feedback from our workshop over the past year has shown that it is addressing a real and persisting need and that it is effective in addressing this need. Nearly 80% of participants reported that they were forced to borrow money in order to come to Hong Kong. However, after completion of the course 100% of participants reported that they felt more confident in setting saving goals and achieving these goals.
Enrich strongly believes in the importance of reaching women as early as possible in their employment journey in Hong Kong to avoid future problems. We are therefore expanding this programme further in 2017 and 2018 and are aiming to attract 300+ participants over the next year.
If you are a migrant domestic worker and have been in Hong Kong for 2 years or less, or know someone who is, or will soon be coming to Hong Kong, register by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 2386 5811. The next scheduled workshops at Enrich office are on Sunday, July 9, 2:30-5:30pm (conducted in English); Saturday, July 29, 2:30-5:30pm (conducted in Bahasa); Sunday, July 30, 2:30-5:30pm (conducted in Bahasa); Sunday, August 6, 10am-1pm (conducted in English) and Sunday, August 20, 10am-1pm in Wan Chai.
Please help spread the word of this workshop and hopefully we can ensure newly arrived migrant domestic workers are financially capable, empowered and well-informed.
By Fiona Harris, Enrich Volunteer
Fiona is an exchange student from the UK, and has been in Hong Kong for nearly one year. Her interests lie in international relations and politics and this is why Enrich stood out for her. She believes the work Enrich does is extremely important; empowering women to take control of their own finances is invaluable.