Social Media


“All Children Deserve A Fair Start In Life” Sassy Mama Supports: PathFinders Hong Kong

Sassy Mama Supports PathFinders Hong Kong

PathFinders directly serves Hong Kong’s most vulnerable babies born to migrant domestic workers, we take a closer look at what the organisation does and how we can all get involved.

Domestic helpersSassy Mama Supports are the backbone of Hong Kong. With May being Helper Appreciation Month and International Domestic Workers Day coming up in June, we’re taking this opportunity to show our token of appreciation for the immense work our helpers do on a day-to-day basis.

Beyond their warm smiles and generous nature, migrant domestic workers face more than a handful of hurdles, to say the least. Perhaps the biggest challenge of all, juggling pregnancy and maternity leave. Many helpers conceal their bump in fear of having their contract terminated and it can be a tricky situation for both parties involved. This is where PathFinders Hong Kong, a non-profit organisation ensures the mother, baby and employer have the smoothest transition possible. We talk to its Director of Fundraising, Harriet Beavis on how PathFinders handles this issue and how we can contribute. 

Read More: Domestic Helpers In Hong Kong – Salary, Food Allowance, Contract Renewal And More

Sassy Mama Supports PathFinders Hong Kong

Tell us about Pathfinders. What’s the main issue you tackle?

PathFinders is the only Hong Kong charity dedicated to supporting the unique vulnerabilities of children born to migrant mothers (either current or former).

“We are guided by the fundamental belief that all children deserve a fair start in life.”

Since 2008, PathFinders has helped over 10,400 migrant mothers and children facing crisis to find a path to a brighter future, and this year is particularly special and meaningful for us as we’re turning 15!

How serious is the issue of Foreign Domestic Helpers being told to leave their jobs if they get pregnant? What options do domestic workers have if this happens to them?

Every year 500 children and their migrant mothers seek our specialist care and protection.

Most of the pregnancies we see are unplanned, and as a result, the expectant mother may conceal her pregnancy, resign or their employment contract may be terminated as neither they nor their employer know what else to do.

When this happens the expectant mother immediately becomes homeless and within two weeks, when her working visa expires she loses access to healthcare, vital for her unborn child.

Read More: From growing up “Spoilt” in Hong Kong to giving the gift of sight in Africa, Joyce Samoutou-Wong shares her journey.

Sassy Mama Supports PathFinders Hong Kong

What does Pathfinders do to educate both the domestic workers and the employees on this issue?

Hong Kong currently employs 340,000 migrant domestic workers and it’s set to rise up to 600,000 with our rapidly ageing population. Many of these domestic helpers are of childbearing age but they lack reproductive health knowledge. We therefore adopt an educational and preventative approach towards ensuring every pregnancy is considered and planned, thereby enabling a clear, stable and brighter future path for every child.

When a domestic helper gets pregnant, many employers lack sufficient and accurate information to guide them on how to support the pregnancy. This is why we created a step-by-step guidebook, My Worker is Pregnant that seeks to support employers through their emotions and onto a path that gives them, their worker and their household the solutions they need.

We are also working to influence systemic and policy change to overcome some of the key challenges faced by employers when their domestic helper is pregnant. This includes the legal requirement to live in and a lack of affordable solutions for temporary cover during maternity leave, particularly for those with young children and/or elderly parents who are more reliant on their helpers.

What would be your top piece of advice for employers who find out their helper is pregnant? Or what is the best thing an employer can do to support their worker if they are pregnant?

When an employer finds out their helper is pregnant, they may feel confused, shocked and even betrayed. Their mind may race with multiple questions and concerns, “She came here to work, why did she get pregnant?” or “My husband and I work full time – can she cope with caring for my young children when she is pregnant?” and so on.

“These are all very real concerns that without careful thought and planning can result in a migrant domestic worker being unlawfully terminated, pressured to leave or resign – actions that may ultimately cause the helper and her child to fall into a crisis.”

The good news is that after the initial shock, many employers have been able to work through the challenges and come up with practical solutions for their households and their workers.

Read More: Charity Begins At Home – How To Help Your Helper

What is your latest campaign?

This year is our 15th anniversary and we have lined up a number of events where the public can learn about our work, the future we desire for migrant mothers and their children and how they can contribute.

In the run-up to Mother’s Day, we have invited award-winning photographer Xyza Cruz Bacani from New York for an exhibition that showcases a raw and insightful look into migration and motherhood through a series of thought-provoking photographs from her renowned book, We Are Like Air. She will also be one of the panelists (along with Dr Lucy Jordan from HKU and PathFinders CEO, Catherine Gurtin) for a deep dive into the issues faced by foreign domestic helpers.

Sassy Mama Supports PathFinders Hong Kong

How can people get involved?

We can’t do what we do without your generous support. There are numerous ways you can help by either donating money, volunteering your time and expertise, partnering with us, donating baby supplies, or simply spreading the word about our service!

You can also show your support this Mother’s Day by donating here to help us care for and support vulnerable migrant mothers and babies, investments of HK$500 or more before Mother’s Day will receive a fun and meaningful Pioneers Pack – pass it on to a child you know – they have the potential to be the next changemaker!

Read More: The Most Useful Classes For Helpers In Hong Kong

For more steps on how to get involved, you can check its website or reach out to PathFinders via [email protected] or [email protected], or 5500 5486.

All images courtesy of PathFinders

more sassy mama

What's New

We're social

We're social

What we're up to and what inspires us