Hong Kong News

Nonpartisan, Noncommercial, unconstrained.
Tuesday, Jun 18, 2024

Hong Kong charity’s sewing project empowers women from ethnic minorities

Hong Kong charity’s sewing project empowers women from ethnic minorities

Housewives say they feel empowered by a project that taught them how to sew and sell their creations.

Anila, a housewife of Pakistani descent born in Hong Kong, finally has the chance to make her own money rather than relying on her husband’s, which is typically used for the household.

The stay-at-home mother, who asked to be referred to by her first name only, took part in a project launched by the Zubin Foundation which taught women how to sew and sell their creations.

“When I see someone buying my bag [that I sewed], I cannot help but smile,” the 43-year-old said at a Christmas bazaar on Saturday. “When I received my first HK$120 (US$15) then I realised I would get paid. I was so excited.”

Anila has been saving to pay for dinner – a halal roasted duck – for her 19th wedding anniversary on Sunday. Her husband is a driver earning around HK$20,000 per month and they live in public housing with their three sons.

Anila sews at the Women’s Empowerment Christmas Bazaar in Central on Saturday.

She said she felt empowered by the initiative launched by the Zubin Foundation, a charity that supported the city’s ethnic minority communities through regular outreach including visiting homes in Kowloon and Kwun Tong.

Founder and CEO of the Zubin Foundation Shalini Mahtani said during the coronavirus pandemic, many women found their family income had decreased and they wanted to earn money to contribute. They felt isolated, she said, so they wanted to work and learn new skills.

She told the Post that the charity bought eight sewing machines and hired a woman to give lessons at the charity’s centre. During the past two months, with fabric donated by residents, around 35 women ranging from 25 to 60 years old took part in the project.

They sewed bags which went on sale at a Women’s Empowerment Christmas Bazaar in Tai Kwun in Central, which opened on Saturday and will close on Sunday. Each bag was sold for between HK$60 and HK$100.
Shalini Mahtani, founder and CEO of the Zubin Foundation, holds bags made by women who took part in the charity’s sewing project.

The women of Pakistani, Indian and Nepali origin were paid per bag they sold. The project was funded by Barclays bank.

Speaking to the Post exclusively at the event, Secretary for Labour and Welfare Chris Sun Yuk-han praised the project: “It’s more than just giving them money or a subsidy.”

“It’s more like teaching them how to make a living. They’re talented, and they’re doing some great handicraft. People love it. So I look forward to more of that kind of initiative going forward.”

The ethnic minority population in Hong Kong has increased to about 264,000 currently, not including foreign domestic workers. About 95,000 of them are South Asians.

Secretary for Labour and Welfare Chris Sun (centre) attends the Women’s Empowerment Christmas Bazaar on Saturday.

The Zubin Foundation estimated that one in five women in Hong Kong live in poverty, with one in four of them having an ethnic minority background.

Pointing to the city’s current labour shortage, Sun said starting next year the Labour Department would be recruiting more young people from ethnic minorities to work in jobcentres to be a “bridge” between the community and provide better services for those looking for work.

There were around 15 stalls at the bazaar with women selling products such as candles, jewellery and chocolate made in Hong Kong.

Arshad, 62, who asked to be referred to by her first name only, is a housewife and has been sewing since she was a young girl in her native Kashmir. She makes clothes for her six children.

“Why should women just stay home and do household chores and take care of the kids? We need to get out and learn and work. I feel strongly about that.”

The 62-year-old, who moved to Hong Kong in 2008, lives in government housing in Kowloon with her husband, 70, daughter-in-law, 31, son 32, and three young grandchildren.

Her husband works as a security guard earning HK$13,000 per month. Her son worked as a food delivery driver, but following an accident, he is now on the government’s Comprehensive Social Security Assistance scheme.

The project was an opportunity for her to get out of the house and meet new people. It also allowed her to help pay for her medical expenses, she has diabetes, and buy herself treats, such as fruit.


Related Articles

Hong Kong News
It's always the people with the dirty hands pointing their fingers
Paper straws found to contain long-lasting and potentially toxic chemicals - study
FTX's Bankman-Fried headed for jail after judge revokes bail
Blackrock gets half a trillion dollar deal to rebuild Ukraine
Steve Jobs' Son Launches Venture Capital Firm With $200 Million For Cancer Treatments
Google reshuffles Assistant unit, lays off some staffers, to 'supercharge' products with A.I.
End of Viagra? FDA approved a gel against erectile dysfunction
UK sanctions Russians judges over dual British national Kara-Murza's trial
US restricts visa-free travel for Hungarian passport holders because of security concerns
America's First New Nuclear Reactor in Nearly Seven Years Begins Operations
Southeast Asia moves closer to economic unity with new regional payments system
Political leader from South Africa, Julius Malema, led violent racist chants at a massive rally on Saturday
Today Hunter Biden’s best friend and business associate, Devon Archer, testified that Joe Biden met in Georgetown with Russian Moscow Mayor's Wife Yelena Baturina who later paid Hunter Biden $3.5 million in so called “consulting fees”
'I am not your servant': IndiGo crew member, passenger get into row over airline meal
Singapore Carries Out First Execution of a Woman in Two Decades Amid Capital Punishment Debate
Spanish Citizenship Granted to Iranian chess player who removed hijab
US Senate Republican Mitch McConnell freezes up, leaves press conference
Speaker McCarthy says the United States House of Representatives is getting ready to impeach Joe Biden.
San Francisco car crash
This camera man is a genius
3D ad in front of Burj Khalifa
Next level gaming
BMW driver…
Google testing journalism AI. We are doing it already 2 years, and without Google biased propoganda and manipulated censorship
Unlike illegal imigrants coming by boats - US Citizens Will Need Visa To Travel To Europe in 2024
Musk announces Twitter name and logo change to X.com
The politician and the journalist lost control and started fighting on live broadcast.
The future of sports
Unveiling the Black Hole: The Mysterious Fate of EU's Aid to Ukraine
Farewell to a Music Titan: Tony Bennett, Renowned Jazz and Pop Vocalist, Passes Away at 96
Alarming Behavior Among Florida's Sharks Raises Concerns Over Possible Cocaine Exposure
Transgender Exclusion in Miss Italy Stirs Controversy Amidst Changing Global Beauty Pageant Landscape
Joe Biden admitted, in his own words, that he delivered what he promised in exchange for the $10 million bribe he received from the Ukraine Oil Company.
TikTok Takes On Spotify And Apple, Launches Own Music Service
Global Trend: Using Anti-Fake News Laws as Censorship Tools - A Deep Dive into Tunisia's Scenario
Arresting Putin During South African Visit Would Equate to War Declaration, Asserts President Ramaphosa
Hacktivist Collective Anonymous Launches 'Project Disclosure' to Unearth Information on UFOs and ETIs
Typo sends millions of US military emails to Russian ally Mali
Server Arrested For Theft After Refusing To Pay A Table's $100 Restaurant Bill When They Dined & Dashed
The Changing Face of Europe: How Mass Migration is Reshaping the Political Landscape
China Urges EU to Clarify Strategic Partnership Amid Trade Tensions
The Last Pour: Anchor Brewing, America's Pioneer Craft Brewer, Closes After 127 Years
Democracy not: EU's Digital Commissioner Considers Shutting Down Social Media Platforms Amid Social Unrest
Sarah Silverman and Renowned Authors Lodge Copyright Infringement Case Against OpenAI and Meta
Why Do Tech Executives Support Kennedy Jr.?
The New York Times Announces Closure of its Sports Section in Favor of The Athletic
BBC Anchor Huw Edwards Hospitalized Amid Child Sex Abuse Allegations, Family Confirms
Florida Attorney General requests Meta CEO's testimony on company's platforms' alleged facilitation of illicit activities
The Distorted Mirror of actual approval ratings: Examining the True Threat to Democracy Beyond the Persona of Putin
40,000 child slaves in Congo are forced to work in cobalt mines so we can drive electric cars.