When Refugees Meet Locals

Branches of Hope, Hong Kong

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Branches of Hope (“BoH”) started the Lunchbox Outreach Project in November 2020, which provides healthy food to street cleaners in Wan Chai. Beyond ordinary relief work, the scope of this project aims to address issues around the social inclusion of often marginalized communities. For the first distribution of 90 lunchboxes, meals were made from recipes provided by members of the Nepalese and South Asian community, who were also able to interact with the cleaners who received the lunchboxes. The feedback from one local street cleaner reflected that the kind gesture of sharing food and friendly attitude during social interactions had made them feel welcome and accepted in Hong Kong, as it was not something they regularly experienced in their daily lives.

Despite the suspension of lunchbox preparation due to the fourth wave of COVID-19, BoH has continued to support street cleaners around Wan Chai, reaching out to distribute care packages, face masks, canned food, and snacks. Taking the lead, members of the refugee community came up with the idea to buy scarves, lip balm, and hand cream to gift to the street cleaners on Christmas Eve, packing them into nicely wrapped gift packs along with other donated items and supermarket vouchers.

In January 2021, BoH expanded their outreach to include waste pickers and the homeless.

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Refugees and BoH staff distributing relief supplies to local street cleaners

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