Supporting migrant workers – giving HOPE to VULNERABLE GROUP in need, By P Joao Francisco Pinto, Rotary Club of Macau

Supporting migrant workers – giving HOPE to VULNERABLE GROUP in need, By P Joao Francisco Pinto, Rotary Club of Macau

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This year is challenging for all of us! The Covid-19 pandemic has changed the way the world works.

For us, Rotarians, the effect was also felt. It altered the way we meet, connect, fundraise, and perform its acts of service to the community.

But, with every crisis, a new avenue of service is open.

  1. At the Rotary Club of Macau, we looked into the plight of migrant workers, the first victims of the economic downfall brought about the lockdown of the Region we live in. Many of Macau’s migrant workers come Southeast Asian countries such as The Philippines, Indonesia and Vietnam. They occupy the lowest ranks in our society, working mostly as cleaners, domestic helpers and servants. They are women and they are most vulnerable.

Working with Caritas, a Christian charity, we identified a small group of women who recently gave birth. They lost their jobs, they are unable to return to their home countries and, now, have the extra burden of raising a newborn child.

Addressing one of the areas of focus set out by DG Eric for this Rotary Year we decided to join hands with fellow Rotarians from Rotary Club of Penha, Macao, and do something to protect the newborn’s health.

By pooling together our resources and knowledge, by joining hands with our Rotaractors and Interactors, we were able to deliver baby formula and diapers to Caritas, who assumed the responsibility of distributing these items to women in need.

It was a pleasure to work together with RC Penha’s President Bill on this meaningful project.

2. We also took the opportunity to educate our Interactors into the importance of solidarity with those who most need. Caritas’ Secretary-General, Paul Pun Chi Meng took the Interactors of the Interact Club of Saint Paul School on a guided tour of the food bank. They were able to see families coming into the food bank and taking supplies to ensure that their basic food needs are satisfied.

3. We have also done our fair share of fellowship. We join hands with Rotaractors, Interactors and our families to celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival  

We joined a Vocational workshop hosted by Fuhong Society service users where we learned how to create special Chinese Lanterns which were used during the Mid-Autumn Festival Celebration.

4. Addressing another area of focus set out by DG Eric for this Rotary Year, the environment, we were invited by the Macau Urban Sustainability to join the World Clean Up Day 2020. Our Interactors, once again, reacted to the call and spend a Saturday roaming around Taipa Island and Macau Peninsula, picking up man-made rubbish for recycling. They also engaged with local shop owners distributing flyers with tips on how to maintain the urban landscape clean.

5. I started by talking about challenges this year, but we also have to talk about achievements. Recently, the World Health Organization finally declared Africa to be POLIO FREE. The challenge is now to eradicate wild poliovirus in the two countries where the disease has never been stopped: Afghanistan and Pakistan.

So, this year, we will hold for the 6th year The World Greatest Meal end-polio fundraising with Halloween theme.  and contribute to international effort to eradicate the disease.

6. The Rotary Club of Macau has a rich history of engagement with our Interactors and Rotaractors. They are young, full of energy, and have shown great leadership skills. We need to incorporate Rotaractors into everything we do. They are the future leaders of Rotary, as the Rotary Club of Macau club so clearly shows. Out of the current Rotarians, 15, which is 1/3 were Rotaractors turned Rotarians. Our most recent Rotarian is a Rotaractor alumni, Miss Jessica lei.

More remarkably, five Rotaractors turned Rotarians have gone all the way to becoming Presidents and, next Rotary Year, this number will go up to six as another Rotaractor turned Rotarian, PE Matthew will be the Rotary Club of Macau’s President.