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“We Are One”: The Unity of Domestic Workers Behind a Sports Festival

posted Oct 10, 2017, 1:27 AM by Domestic Worker Empowerment Project Hong Kong   [ updated Oct 10, 2017, 1:50 AM ]
by Jessie Yang 
(Originally published in The Wandering Voice Website. Published with permission from the author.)

When I set foot on the Chung Hom Kok beach, sounds of chanting and singing already filled the place with joy and excitement. In front of me was a group of domestic workers dressed in hand-made outfits from recycled material. They were practicing their cheerleading routine for the competition today, which they have been preparing for a month.

Domestic Worker Empowerment Program (DWEP) organized this sports fest which involved around 300 domestic workers in Hong Kong. The event lasted for a whole day, from “muses” competition, cheerleading performances to track and field. “It’s not about competition, but about unity, being friends with each other and supporting each other.” Mike, the founder of DWEP said in the opening.

I came here by myself, hoping to document this event, but it was something more than I expected. Once the participants began singing the Philippine national anthem and saying their oath, I realized it was true that the event was more than just a competition. It was a demonstration of strength that arises from their happiness of participation

“It is interesting to see how this small island is filled with different values; different people can give you entirely distinctive perspectives of success and life.” Guillaume, an exchange student from France, told me. It took him almost two hours to get here from his university. The eagerness to explore the heart of Hong Kong brought him to this sports festival, and to understand more about domestic workers, who take up nearly 5% of the Hong Kong population but without receiving the recognition they deserve.

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