As the wise Ralph Waldo Emersen put it:
“The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.”
While you are in exchange, I want you to get a chance to do to something greater, and invite you to volunteer in this amazing project that I can truly recommend.
Volunteering for Michael Mike Manio, MD-PhD at the Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine, has been an absolute pleasure. He is very passionate about improving the quality of life of the Filipino domestic workers in Hong Kong and does that inspirationally!
The Guardian reports that there are 53 million domestic workers worldwide, of which many are migrant workers travelling from poor to rich countries to clean, cook and drive cars for private households. In Phillipines, many families struggle to pay school fees for their children, as 25% of the country lives under the poverty line. Naturally, a large amount of women and men travel to countries such as Hong Kong to work and provide for their families.
In Hong Kong, as much as 50% of the domestic workers come from Philippines and make up almost 180 000 people, of which most are women. However, the life in Hong Kong is not a fairytale, and the bright skyscrapers often bring darkness and misery. The domestic workers are not only far from home and their families, but they are also a subject to exploitation, abuse and exclusion from labor laws. Unfortunately, there is very little support for them out there, making their conditions even harder to bear.
The Domestic Workers Empowerment Program (DWEP) was created to provide an opportunity for both women and men to receive education in general and cultural knowledge. This excellent opportunity allows them to obtain a “Certificate of Completion” from a prestigious institution, The University of Hong Kong, that helps them elevate their importance and value at work. Many of those who successfully complete this program, have a chance of a better working life, and more respect at work. The workers are educated in topics such as health, legal rights, recycling, biodiversity, CPR & AED, fair employment, amongst other.
During my time with DWEP, I learned a lot as a person and got to know so many genuine, kind and caring people. This is a great project, and I cannot recommend it enough! The photo above photo was taken at the Mental Health lecture, where my friend and I held a presentation on ways to reduce stress.
Get in touch with Michael today to make a difference and become a part of this amazing project!
Check out their facebook page for more information: