27 May 2020
Migrant domestic workers make up 10% of Hong Kong’s labour force but they often struggle to achieve the economic gains they set out to achieve when they first leave their home countries. They are often more prone to exploitation by predatory lending agencies and financial scams.
“The impact of these scams can be devastating for migrant workers,” says Lindy Dharmawan, Senior Analyst in the Commodities and Global Markets division at Macquarie in Hong Kong. “Many of them come temporarily but end up staying for over 10 years because they need to keep making money to pay off their debts.”
In Asia, the Macquarie Group Foundation has focused its support on organisations that improve the lives of migrant workers. This includes Enrich, which aims to empower domestic migrant workers and develop their financial literacy through workshops and mentorship.
“Enrich run pro bono workshops to help these workers make better decisions with their hard-earned money – and unlock their full potential. Some end up saving enough capital to start a business back home,” Lindy says. “Empowerment is a gift that keeps on giving.”
Lindy’s active involvement with the charity includes raising awareness, organising vital resources like access to venues, and providing mentoring sessions. “We are always short of Indonesian speakers, so I tapped into my network to get more people involved as volunteers and champions.”
Mother’s Choice is another non-profit that is making a difference in Hong Kong with Macquarie’s support as a grant partner, and also through staff volunteering and funding. It has helped children without families and pregnant teenagers since 1987. Its Pregnant Girls Service offers support, education and tailored personal support. For the estimated 4,000 children living without families in Hong Kong, Mother’s Choice offers Child Care and Foster Care services.
Recently Nirmal Deivasigamani, Senior Manager in Macquarie’s Corporate Operations Group in Hong Kong, worked with his team to create an online resource library for the charity to enhance the way it delivers vital work in the community.
“Mother’s Choice have a large number of external and internal resources on a range of topics, aligned to delivering the organisation’s work and mission – but they were hard to access as they were spread over various servers,” Nirmal says. “We helped collate these resources in one place, enabling quicker and more effective access to critical resources, along with a more efficient way to add new items to the collection.”
This means Mother’s Choice can give its employees more time to spend on delivering crucial services – supporting children and teenagers in need in Hong Kong.
“We’re proud to provide multi-year capacity building support to Enrich and Mother’s Choice, giving them the confidence to invest in and build their services, to continue delivering critical services and focusing on their own missions,” says Susan Clear, regional director for the Macquarie Group Foundation in Asia.
“This support helps build their operational efficiency, leading to less time on processes and administration, and more time supporting the needs of beneficiaries.”