St Barnabas' Society and Home, founded in 1987, provides services to the poor and homeless in Western and Kennedy Town districts on Hong Kong Island. Today, they have several centres around Hong Kong Island. I volunteered there for a fortnight, learning a lot about homelessness in the city, and was fortunate enough to speak with three regular members of their main drop-in centre, in Sheung Wan.
The hardest part of the interviews was formulating questions that would be insightful but not insensitive. In the end, the resulting discussion illuminated their common hopes for the future, struggles with work, and love for music.
How did you first get involved with St Barnabas’?
I learned about St Barnabas’ Centre in 2011. Back then, I was living in a cage home. They’re terrible, and I hated it. I was recruited by several staff who invited me in.
Where were you born?
I was born in the Philippines, in Manila city. I married a Chinese man and moved here in 2006.
Any current hobbies or past-times you’d like to share?
Right now, I like to use computers. I really want to learn how to use it well, like Microsoft Word, Excel, and that kind of thing.
What does your daily routine look like?
I spend my day walking around. My favourite part of Hong Kong is Admiralty, because you can meet lots of people there.
What is your greatest struggle right now?
To be honest, the hardest thing for me right now is using Facebook. I just got it and I’m adding my friends. I also want to learn how to download music online.
Where do you see yourself in a couple of years?
I don’t know. My dream is to return to the Philippines to live with my family.
If you could change anything about the world, what would it be?
I think we need more fairness in our word. If you look at farmers and workers everywhere, they don’t earn enough money. I don’t have a dream job, I just want to live in a world with justice.
To learn more about St Barnabas, including how to volunteer there, visit http://www.sbsh.org.hk.