2022 January Fellowship

After an intensive but fruitful week of workshops, facilitated discussions and site visits, the Peace Fellows reflected on how community building can bring about peace in Hong Kong and identified opportunities to engage the communities in formulating solutions to social issues. In the six weeks that followed, the Fellows paired up with three civil society organisations: Health in Action, HER Fund and Making on Loft, to examine the needs of three communities in Hong Kong and develop prototypes of actionable solutions to address the needs.

Improving relationship between migrant domestic workers and their employers in times of COVID

One group of Peace Fellows worked with HER Fund to raise awareness on the rights of migrant domestic workers (MDW) in Hong Kong. In an attempt to understand the challenges faced by MDW in times of COVID, the Fellows visited popular gathering places of MDW to conduct interviews. The Fellows thoroughly enjoyed the conversations and were greatly impressed and inspired by the workers’ sincerity and openness. 

The Fellows understood from the interview responses that it was critical to provide relevant and easily accessible information online to MDW so as to support them in recognising their rights, assessing their working conditions, improving communication with employers, and seeking help in case of abuse or violation of rights. With the help of their interviewees, the Fellows designed an online questionnaire that served as a working environment self-assessment tool for MDW. The questionnaire was well received by MDW and the Fellows continued to refine it based on their feedback.

Understanding the physical and emotional needs of youths living in compact spaces

Another group of Fellows paired up with Health in Action to understand how compact living space impacts the wellbeing of youths and their families, in particular how limited space can lead to conflicts and affect relationships between family members. During the Peace Lab period, the Fellows visited Kwong Fai Circuit in Kwai Tsing district to interview residents in public housing estates and spoke in depth with a few young individuals who lived in subdivided flats. 

After listening to the needs of their interviewees, the Fellows designed an interactive game to encourage them to share their thoughts and feelings about their living space with their family members. The family who took part in testing the game found it a useful tool to help communicate needs to each other, and as a result undertook house cleaning in an effort to make improvements to their home in spite of housing limitations.

Cultivating a sense of belonging in Tseung Kwan O

The third group of Fellows was deeply impressed by the strong community bonds they witnessed during their visits to several community organisations in the workshop week, and was inspired to build a community resilient enough to look beyond differences and to look out for one another in times of crisis. With this goal in mind, the Fellows worked with Making on Loft to explore and unleash the potential of public space in Tseung kwan O for community participation.

The Fellows interviewed a number of Tseung Kwan O residents to understand their expectations for community participation and work together to find creative means to encourage community connections. They hosted mini-events in the community to initiate discussions on how to stay connected and cultivate a sense of belonging in a new town in times of COVID, and were touched by the enthusiasm and kindness of the residents.