Going Further Together

RUN Hong Kong, Hong Kong

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ZeShan is supporting RUN Hong Kong (“RUN”) in addressing the additional mental stressors brought about by COVID-19 to refugees and asylum seekers (RAS) in Hong Kong. With the aim of providing safe and supportive environments for those effected to recover from past trauma, to build support networks, and to improve on skills for future resilience, the initiative expanded across three programmes:

  • structured sports program for children
  • summer camp for teens
  • therapy sessions with a part-time psychologist

Over the course of 9 sessions between September and November of 2020, 29 children (aged 3-12) participated in a structured sports program run by 3 volunteer coaches. Beginning in September 2020, RUN additionally provided one hour of homework support prior to each sports session, aided by Year 12 Chinese International School students who volunteer with RUN on a bi-weekly basis. The program is currently on hold due to COVID-19 social distancing restrictions.

12 teens (7 female & 5 male, average age of 18) participated in a variety of outdoor activities over 6 Sundays in October and November of 2020. Run by Asia Pacific Adventures (APA), the activities included: water sports, stand up paddle boarding, kayaking, rock climbing, gorge hiking, and exploration activities.

  • 92% agreed that outdoor activities helped with the development of communication skills
  • 92% felt an increased sense of confidence after participating in outdoor activities
  • 92% experienced a better mood after participating in outdoor activities
  • Other skills that were gained from participating in outdoor activities include: team work, time management, critical thinking and resilience.
  • 100% of participants wished to participate in similar activities the following year.

Psychology Sessions with Dr. Ken Fung

  • 12 participants benefited from a total of 70 psychology sessions as of 31 January 2021.

 

“Before seeing Dr. Fung, I did not see my problems. I thought I was ok, but I was not ok. I stayed at home all day, I only left the house once a week to go to church. I felt overwhelmed and felt a lot of pressure being with the children all the time. I had no motivation to go outside, I did not want to see anyone, I just wanted to stay home all the time. After first seeing Dr. Fung, I felt much better because I had someone to talk to about how I was feeling. I had a reason to leave the house. Dr. Fung’s session in addition to regular English classes at RUN and MakerBay classes (also organized by RUN), I feel much happier. Right now, I have a much better mindset, and I feel positive about the future.” 

*Testimony from a recent graduate of Dr. Fung’s psychology sessions

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Running class for refugee teens

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Rock climbing class for refugee teens

Case Study & Testimonial

Forty-year-old Lenya comes from a tribe in Africa where Female Genital Mutilation is forced upon female members as an initiation rite. As a family member of the chief of the tribe, Lenya was expected to adhere to the rules of the tribe without exception. Fearing a punishment of death for refusing to go through with this traumatic practice, Lenya fled her country and ended up in Hong Kong.

In the beginning, Lenya had difficulty living in Hong Kong, unable to move on from the trauma from her past experiences. She was emotionally fragile, would break down when faced with even the slightest bit of stress, and was unable to form lasting friendships due to past betrayals by people whom she thought she could trust. She avoided people, preferred to stay at home, and would often ruminate over her losses, putting her in a depressed state. Lenya sought help at Justice Centre, where her case officer referred her to counselling. 

Lenya started counselling in November 2020, attending sessions every week with Justice Centre’s in-house psychotherapist. With a safe environment to share her story and learn healthy coping skills, she has become more confident, cheerful, and hopeful over time despite her difficult circumstances as a refugee in Hong Kong.

 Feedback from Lenya:

“I just want to appreciate all that you guys are doing for me. I’m so thankful for the counselling at Justice Centre because this counselling therapy really helped me a lot! I was finding it difficult to let my past relationship go… I was unable to make new friends, I was having trust issues and I was so bitter and unhappy. But since I started the counselling Classes at Justice Centre, my inner peace is okay! My life is moving forward in a good direction. Now I can value myself ... I still have hope in life. Now I can make new friends and share my secrets with someone that I truly trust.”

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