PathFinders assists over 1,100 moms and kids in 2020 amid Covid-19 pandemic

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Alexandria* and her baby are two of the beneficiaries of PathFinders' assistance to migrant mothers across Hong Kong, as well as their children. (FILE)

A private charity dedicated to assisting vulnerable migrant mothers in Hong Kong was able to assist 1,153 babies, children and women in 2020 amid the social unrest and the Covid-19 epidemic.

PathFinders released its Impact Report 2020 on Sunday, citing that it has engaged 44,098 migrant domestic workers (MDWs) in its crisis prevention initiatives.

Chief Executive Officer Catherine Gurtin and Board Chair Vivien Webb thanked the 74 charity MDW ambassadors it trained and the donors who have continued to support the organisation’s programs.

“This represents significant progress towards achieving our ambition of creating a sustainable community outreach model led by MDWs for MDWs,” the two said in a letter in the report.

The organisation said it handled 397 cases—through providing counselling, healthcare, supplies, legal aid, and education—in the past year. These include 244 new cases of migrant mothers and their children seeking aid.

Of the 397 total cases it handled, 245 were closed.

PathFinders also said they saw an increase in its beneficiaries from the Philippines.

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Travel restrictions due to the Covid-19 global health crisis jacked up demand for PathFinders’ emergency shelter. In 2020, the NGO’s shelters had a 98% occupancy rate and the average stay extended to 92 days—up by half from 2019.

The pandemic had posed a challenge to engaging MDWs, PathFinders said in its report, but it was still able to reach its audience through online initiatives. It had launched a crowdfunding campaign in June 2020 and has partnered with other migrant support NGOs in Hong Kong for the empowerment of FDWs.

“There is no doubt 2021 will continue to present challenges requiring greater resilience, adaptability and prioritisation – nevertheless we enter the year excited and energised to use our precious resources even more efficiently and effectively to achieve maximum impact for the babies, children and mothers we serve, who show us daily that through adversity comes strength,” Gurtin and Webb said.

Since its establishment in 2008, PathFinders has provided aid to over 8,000 babies, children, and their migrant mothers.

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