We're on our way...

to rebuilding our casework office that was damaged in the fire.  In the meantime our 16/F activity room is converted to temporary office space.  Read our fundraising update below.

We are also delighted to feature Fuad's story who was resettled in late September, and is on his way to rebuilding his life in Colorado, U.S.A.!

Update on our Rebuilding Efforts
It's been just over one month since we suffered a fire at our community centre.   We are delighted to share that we are well on our way to rebuilding our community Centre for Refugees! Over HK$1.75 million was donated – which is more than twice our initial fundraising target!  Thanks for your support!  We’re also excited and thankful for the skilled volunteer architects and designers who are helping us with plans to start the rebuilding process. 

Our hardworking team have managed to convert our 16/F activity room into temporary office space and continue to serve our beneficiaries.  Seeing our case work, education and administration offices ruined and covered in black soot and ash has been devastating, but the resilience of our team deserves recognition and celebration.  In her own words, one of our beneficiaries shared this story about the impact of the fire: 

“When I heard about the fire in our centre, I was really shocked and hoped it was not that bad.  But when I saw the video it really broke my son who was sitting next to me said ‘Mama this is the place I sit and play games on the TV, it's not good.’ He was really sad. My husband too was really heart broken and said ‘I was just there yesterday sitting on that sofa.’  CFR  is more than a centre to us; it has been our home for 5 years now.


It hurts to see it like that and I pray that it will recover soon and we can enjoy our home as we did before. CFR staff are really great and they have been strong to keep us strong. They are still providing us with our daily necessities even though they don't have enough space to have people coming. I am so grateful to have such good caseworkers who are always happy to help throughout the Covid and now the fire.”  
----  Umaiza (Client)

Essential support is provided at our Centre.  Communities are fostered at our Centre.  Hope is realized at our Centre. 

We provide a safe place of refuge -- a “home away from home” -- for our beneficiaries.  Our Centre has been the first place where many asylum seekers and refugees visit when they first arrive in Hong Kong and are at a loss of how to integrate into the hustle and bustle of Hong Kong.  Our beneficiaries are often referred to us for emergency shelter and food; and have become the place they can rely on throughout the time they remain in Hong Kong-- from basic needs, to social and mental health support, to education and training.  Refugees in Hong Kong live in limbo for years awaiting status determination; during this time we provide comprehensive social services. One of our core services is the Education Sponsorship for children to ensure they continue to thrive whilst their family is in a transition. We have witnessed these children grow into amazing young adults, allowing us to become part of their life in Hong Kong!  We can only do this with all of your support!

Thank you all again for standing with us and watch out for more updates on our rebuilding progress!


Our work continues...

“I am so impressed how the staff and volunteers at the Centre keep moving and have not let the fire stop them from providing for the vulnerable.  The fire happened on a Saturday, but distributions of toiletries and diapers/formula were still made on Tuesday and Wednesday of that week. Counselling still takes place in the kitchen. CFR priorities have and always have been the clients, the fire truly shows how this is true as I see them working even harder to ensure at least the basic needs are still met.” -- David (Client)

Anina Zimmerman, tireless caseworker, with Fuad and his wife and son at Hong Kong International Airport on the night they departed for the USA to start their new lives.

From 0 to 100%: Christian Action
Totally Changed My Life

My name is Fuad. I came to Hong Kong from Somalia ten years ago when I was just a boy.  I came alone without my family and the first placed I lived was in Yuen Long with Somalian roommates.  My roommates told me about Christian Action – Centre for Refugees (CFR) and how they helped new arrivals.  At the time, I did not speak any English and was worried how I could explain my situation to CFR.  Luckily a friend took me to CFR’s office in Chungking Mansion and helped to translate. 

The first person I met at CFR was Olek.  He was very kind and he introduced me to Jonnet, Jeff and the rest of the team.  I told Olek about the warfare and ethnic persecution in Somalia and my own situation; he explained how he would help me.  The first thing he gave me was a CFR card so that I could eat breakfast, lunch and dinner at the centre.  Then he gave me transport money after he learned that I was living in Yuen Long.  I was so relieved and happy because I really had nothing.  Olek even gave me a tooth brush that day. 

Three days later, Olek called and told me that he had already found an English class for me!  From then on, I went to English class two times a week in Tsim Sha Tsui.  In Somalia, I lived in a village, going to the city was too far, so I was really happy I had an opportunity to go to the city by MTR for my classes.   I was a bit worried the first time I went to class, but when I arrived I realised everyone was in the same situation.   This helped me gain confidence that I could be one of the best students. 
With the help of CFR, I was able to attend secondary school in Hong Kong.  Once I got enrolled, CFR gave me money for books, uniforms, and transport.  I received SFAA government support, but the Government subsidy was always 2-3 months late.  It was unpredictable and without the extra support from CFR, I am not sure what I would have done.  I will never forget how Olek told me they would make special exception to help me with money for my education even though I had missed the regular deadline.   CFR even helped me with uniforms for football that I enjoyed playing so much. 
After I graduated from school, I had a baby and got married.  When I announced my baby’s birth, everyone was very happy for me.  CFR gave me baby clothes, diapers, milk, shampoo and told me to come back every month for more support.   My son was about  6 months old when I married his mom.  I remember what a beautiful day it was.  CFR had organized a trip for Disneyland and I was able to take my wife and baby in the morning before I got married later that day.  Jeff and Reto from CFR celebrated with us and my family and I were so happy.
When my son was 2 years old, CFR helped him get enrolled in early childhood education and by 3 years old, CFR helped get him enrolled in an international school - Woodland. To have my son go to such a school made me feel so proud and good; I felt like I was no longer a refugee.  Because I wasn’t allowed to work, of course I never had money to pay for any of the school books, activities, photos or even transportation.  I am so thankful for CFR’s help with all of these things that helped my son start life with all these opportunities like any other kid.
CFR totally changed my life: from zero to 100%!  It’s not easy to get a job in Hong Kong and after my refugee status was determined, CFR helped me find work at an international 5 star hotel.  I couldn’t believe it!  I interviewed, got the job, got a salary and even opened a bank account!  CFR has helped me do all of this!  Even after I started working, I never felt like I was on my own.  When my wife got sick, I tried to take her to the public hospital three times, but no one would help us.  I called CFR and they were able to get us a private hospital appointment and I was so grateful that she soon got better.
When the pandemic started, CFR sent me information by WhatsApp on how to stay safe and they even provided my family and I with masks and sanitizer.   Even though CFR had to close the centre for a few weeks, they were still in contact with us, always thinking about us, checking in with us.  The pandemic restrictions forced my work place to close and I was  also suspended from my work.  When I didn’t get my salary anymore I was in a difficult situation and CFR, once again, were there to help me. They gave me a stipend to pay for rent and food.   I know I can always count on CFR to help me with any problem, big or small. 
CFR changed my life.  I went from being a refugee to feeling like I am a Hong Kong person. Through my work, I was able to meet local people and become friends with them.  My local friends invited me for dinner, we laughed together and shared stories and I felt happiness and love for them.  
Now it is very bittersweet to leave Hong Kong because I will miss my friends and I am not able to give back to CFR after they experienced the fire.  I am excited to start my future, but I’ll never forget where I’ve come from and the second family I have in Hong Kong.  I am leaving for the U.S. with a suitcase given to me by CFR and filled with other items that CFR gave me.  God bless them for their genuine care and kindness. 

Many Thanks to
Redsauce Hospitality!

We're thankful to Redsauce Hospitality for hosting two fundraising dinners at Posto Publico raising $22,250 to support our rebuilding!  Our team also enjoyed the fabulous food and hospitality!
Forward Forward
Copyright © 2020 Christian Action - Centre for Refugees, All rights reserved.
You are receiving this e-mail because you have subscribed to our mailing list or because you are a donor, volunteer, or supporter of our Centre for Refugees.

Our mailing address is:
Christian Action -- Centre for Refugees
No. 6, 16/F., Block E, Chungking Mansions
36-44 Nathan Road
Tsim Sha Tsui
Hong Kong
Add us to your address book

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.

This email was sent to <<Email Address>>
why did I get this?    unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences
Christian Action -- Centre for Refugees · No. 6, 16/F., Block E, Chungking Mansions · 36-44 Nathan Road · Tsim Sha Tsui · Hong Kong