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Mother's Day Campaign 2019

The HKWFC, Tin Shui Wai Community Development Network, and Kwun Tong Methodist Social Service Care centre have always been addressing the predicaments of children carers. We hope to reduce the limitation brought by traditional gender stereotype, fight for their rights, and support their basic needs of living. In light of this, these three organizations have jointly held a large-scale event one week before the Mother's Day,  "Mums Need a Break".

 

Mums Need a Break

Care for Carers has surveyed on the International Women's Day this year and found that most mothers just want to sleep during the holidays. On the 5th May 2019, three organizations have held a campaign called "Mums Need a Break". Over 50 households have attended the event and were separated into the "mothers" group and the "carers" group. Dozens of mothers slept under the massive rainbow umbrella at the Caritas Institute of Higher Education and sang "Sleeping Mothers" by Edelweiss, to showcase the tremendous caring pressure faced by childcarers. Round-the-clock care has given them little rest time. And the volunteers in the "carers group" played games with children nearby so that their mothers could take a rest temporarily.

 

The lack of childcare services has long been a serious social issue, having a great impact on grassroots families in particular. Each year, around 60,000 infants are born in Hong Kong. However, the quota of subsidized independent childcare centres is only 747 and the average use rate has been over 99% since 2011/12. The long wait times have reflected that the demand is greater than supply, not to mention the lack of respite care and emergency care. For mothers in need, these services are very inadequate, let alone giving them the space to rest and develop themselves.

 

The lack of childcare service is an indisputable fact. We urge the government to implement the suggestions in the "Consultancy Study on the Long-term Development of Childcare Services", adopt remedial measures for childcarers, improve the entire childcare planning and supporting measures, provide sufficient quota for childcare services, and set a timeframe to address the needs of childcarers.

 

Respite care is another option for childcarers

Respite care gives childcarers a break to ease stress and develop themselves. Apart from day time childcare services and emergency care, respite care is another option for childcarers to release their pressure. Meanwhile, we suggest that the government should offer respite care to childcarers by providing community childcare vouchers to subsidize grassroots carers. That way, childcarers can work like ordinary workers and enjoy at least one holiday each week. They can choose to do whatever they want during the holidays.

 

Childcarers have to take care of their families but their contributions have long been neglected by society. The purpose of the carer subsidy is to protect their rights on the social system level and acknowledge their values. It is not designed to see unpaid labour as paid jobs since carers' love and care for their families is not quantifiable. However, childcarers are forced to leave their jobs or work as transient workers with short working hours and inadequate protection. Even if they can work full-time, they are faced with serious workplace discrimination and has fewer chances for promotion. The burdens of living on full-time childcarers are even heavier. The Thematic Household Survey Report 2015 showed that grassroots women with less than $10,000 monthly income have to take care of 80% of the housework. Even though the Social Welfare Department has launched projects such as the Neighbourhood Support childcare Project, they are only seen as voluntary work, which significantly underestimates the value and importance of housework.

 

To alleviate the stress of childcarers, we urge the government to:

  • Implement the suggestions in the "Consultancy Study on the Long-term Development of Childcare Services", adopt remedial measures for childcarers, provide sufficient quota for childcare services, and set a timeframe to address the needs of childcarers;
  • Provide respite childcare services, with community childcare vouchers to subsidize grassroots carers so that they can take a day off every week;
  • Offer carer subsidy to acknowledge their contributions and values;
  • Include a one-stop carer support centre in the upcoming $20 billion social welfare facility plan

Media Enquiry

Ms Si-si Liu

Director

sisi.liu@womencentre.org.hk
(852) 2748 8101

Mr Alvin Chung

Senior Development Officer

alvin.chung@womencentre.org.hk
(852) 2748 8105