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Welcome to the 2010 Guerilla Girls Blog! We are the Guerilla Girls! We are 13 Hao Ran Foundation volunteers (all females!) and we will soon get to deploy our wings in different countries of the world to work with various non-governmental organizations and social movements as a way to reinforce social justice and solidarity. We wish to open communication and share our experience with the rest of the world, because we strongly believe that ‘ANOTHER WORLD IS POSSIBLE!’ Read More

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2011年1月23日 星期日

Learn organizing from now on in APMM




Lola Chih-Hsien Huang

2011/1/21

To know more about APMM and meet all staff
I arrived Hong Kong on Jan. 10. On Jan. 11, I met all staff in APMM’s office and they introduced themselves to me. I have met Ramon who is a managing director in APMM and Rey, a program coordinator for undocumented migrants, already on March 7, 2010 in Taiwan. Joram, a Interfaith and Education Coordinator, and Vicky focus on marriage migrants in H.K. Buhay is a women program coordinator, and Janet is a administration staff. Joselito, a program coordinator for migrant trade unionism, and Aaron is a programme coordinator for globalization and forced labor migration in APMM. In the first few days, Rey and Joram accompanied me to get familiar with the environments around office and my home.
Staff gave me some materials and publications such as APMM leaflets, Migrant Monitor, Education for Women Migrants’ Empowerment and Action and so on, they hope such materials can help me have a better understanding of APMM work. In the first week, reading these materials, discussing with them, visiting local grassroots organizations are my main tasks.

Visit Local Grassroots Organizations

I visited Mission For Migrant Workers (MFMW) on Jan. 12, Gi, a worker in MFMW and he had been in Taiwan for 4 years, introduce what they have done and what kind of services they have offered to migrants for me. MFMW established in 1981, all their services are migrant-centered and empowerment-oriented, such as legal advice and consulting, training, educationand empowerment, advocacy and campaign and so on. One of their achievements was that they have set up the Bethune House Migrant Women’s Refuge(BHMWR) which provides accommodation, counseling and mediation services for distressed foreign women workers. MFMW also facilitated the establishment of APMM in Hong Kong. MFMW’s office is offered by St. John’s Cathedral for free in Central.

Go to migrants’ paradise, Central, on Sunday
Many local grassroots organizations would get together in Central every Sundays to hold their own activities, and I have visited Association of Concerned Filipinos-H.K.(ACFIL), Filipino Migrants Association(FMA) and Pangasinan Organization for Welfare & Empowerment Rights(POWER). Pictures below show us the differences between the situation on Sundays and on the normal days in Bank Building in Central. On Sundays, there is a migrant workers’ community here.


Organizing migrant workers from everything we can do!
On Charter Road, not far from Bank Building, grassroots organizations always get up picnics, we can see how they organize migrant workers here: they will decide what kind of food need to be prepared together and some participants also need to cook it for all migrants here in turns. Undoubtedly, it is one way to organize migrant workers that they have done every weekend. If you think that picnicking is the only thing they have done, I am sorry to say that to you: you are wrong! Actually, picnic is a way to have fun, such as chatting, dancing, eating and drinking in their leisure time. Here, they don’t have to spend twice or triple prices in order to eat enough; they spend a little money and they can feel happy and satisfied. For grassroots organizations, the most important thing is through picnicking to meet other migrant workers who didn’t participate in organizations and didn’t know where their rights are.

Activities Map in Central on Sundays

How do grassroots organizations empower migrant workers?
Rochelle Lagunde, a member of POWER, told me that she didn’t know where her rights are until she came here with friends to have fun. One member of FMA came closely to her and tried to talk with her, she said. In the beginning of conversation, FMA just like a friend to care about her life in H.K., and then told her what they do and what their objectives are, further more gave her some advice according to her experiences. “I hesitated to join them”, Rochelle said. FMA just told to her “It’s o.k., you can bring these

information home and take references”. “I came home and thought it over and over again, finally I realized that what they do is what I should do and now I am a member of POWER and take part in organizing”, Rochelle told me.
Local organizations such as POWER, they don’t have many financial supports and only rely on 5HKD/per month for each member. It sounds incredible for me: how does one organization has no money do policy advocacies, campaigns and empowerments for migrant workers? POWER showed me a great example: they don’t have their own publications, all empowerment activities are implemented face by face through spoken explaining and discussions. In the process of discussion, migrant workers who haven’t participated in organizations can get legal advice, consulting and further information. On these basics, they can have chances to think what I should/need to do? It is also the first step to awaken their consciousness. In addition to discussions one by one, Cherry who is the chair person in FMA told me that they have legal and rights seminar every month in Central for migrant workers.
Irregularly, POWER has used their time on Sundays to hold a group discussion for all participants. They have shared experiences to deal with different cases they found and have had assessments together. A group discussion is useful for participants to get consulting skills, to know more detail about Law, migrants’ situations and so on. Organizers have got empowerments continuously through a group discussion.
Everyone is an organizer, and every one just like a seed……
Everyone is a seed,
Every seed will thrive after irrigation,
Each seed can give birth to seeds,
Seeds will grow up and become trees,
Connect with trees and trees,
Flourishing forests are in front of us!
Local grassroots organizations taught me that organizations can operate well and we can do campaigns, policy advocacies and empowerments in the most economic way, as long as we believe that everyone is an organizer, seed and actor. (to be continued)

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