Domestic Workers Environment & Health HKFP Lens

HKFP Lens: Helping babies of migrant mothers get a fair start in life

Ian Taylor is a Canadian photographer who has been working in Asia since 1994. For the past couple of years, he has been volunteering with PathFinders Hong Kong, a charity that helps migrant mothers and their babies. “PathFinders makes sure kids born without identities can enter the system as productive human beings. This organisation is doing important work,” Taylor says.

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Domestic workers who become pregnant lose their jobs and their babies are born without any rights.

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PathFinders works to ensure that the most vulnerable babies and children in Hong Kong are protected and respected. All babies and children should have an identity and all that comes with it including: immunisation, nationality, a family, housing, food, and education.

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PathFinders is dedicated to the idea that every child deserves a fair start in life. Here, a pregnant mom climbs a wooden ladder to her bedroom.

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At Tuen Mun Town Centre a number of women wait with their babies to obtain birth certificates. Up until this point, these babies do not exist in the eyes of the law.

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These women all have the option to give up their babies for adoption. 8% take the option. PathFinders was instrumental in getting the laws changed in Hong Kong. 5% of adoptions in Hong Kong come through Pathfinders. Over 90% of mothers opt to raise their kids.

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In Tsuen Wan a mom and her baby share a tiny windowless flat.

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In the eyes of the law, this newborn does not exist. At PathFinders clinic he gets medical attention not available at state hospitals while the organisation arranges a birth certificate.

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Sham Shui Po, near the PathFinders office. Population density: 38,000 per square kilometre.

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Near the PathFinders office, staff dietician Wendy and volunteer Helen chat with a mom.

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Lia, Indonesian staff member, chats with a new mom.

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Jessica hands out basic supplies such as diapers. The organisation runs on a shoestring budget in a cramped office. Donations and volunteers are keys to its success.

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Swedish midwife Hanna, head of the health & medical programme.

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PathFinders provided medical care so this guy could have his rash treated.

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Jessica, the head of PathFinders Social Care on her way to deliver a heater to a mom in Kam Tin during the recent cold snap in Hong Kong, during which temperatures were near freezing. Families were living in basic unheated structures.

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Bathroom. Hong Kong.

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A sick mom, unable to take care of her daughter, leaves her at the Po Leung Kuk Orphanage. She is only able to visit several times a year, despite living only a few kilometres away.

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PathFinders makes sure that vulnerable children and their migrant mothers are protected. Find out more about what they do here. View more of Ian’s work on his Facebook page or portfolio.

HKFP Lens: Helping babies of migrant mothers get a fair start in life