HELP kicks off its experiential learning program “FirstHand”

According to a 2015 survey, 66% of domestic workers in Hong Kong felt they were exploited in various degrees. Our clients often complain of ill treatment and some form of abuse by members of the household in which they not only work, but also live. While we focus on empowering domestic workers to enable them to stand up for their rights, to have a more profound impact on the way they are treated in the long term, we also need to challenge perceptions and address the negative attitude towards domestic workers among employers and the community at large.

To do this, we want to engage young people – the next generation of employers. We will encourage them to be agents of change, helping form a positive perspective on domestic workers from an early age.

With FirstHand, we are developing a suite of experiential learning programmes that can be delivered to Hong Kong school-aged students, initially in English with Chinese language materials to follow. The name of the programme comes from the “firsthand” experience the students gain through role play as a domestic worker in a series of scenarios designed to challenge their perceptions about domestic work. This exposure will help them learn about the issues faced by domestic workers, delivered in a fun and interactive way.

Different scenarios are expected for primary and secondary school children, which will be delivered by members of our team when invited to visit schools. Our aim is to develop lesson plans and interactive games to sit alongside the scenarios, allowing schools to also independently run the programme themselves.

The expected outcomes are to create more empathy at home for the students with domestic workers in their households, and to foster real conversations between multigenerational households that can lead to positive impact in the community for domestic workers. While the results may take time to develop, this is a programme with long-term ambitions to engage the next generation of employers of domestic workers and to create safe, positive work environments for domestic workers in Hong Kong.

For further information on how your school can get involved please email m.augustine@helpfordomesticworkers.org

We welcome our new Student Education Coordinator for the FirstHand program, Michelle Augustine!