21st November 2023 – (Hong Kong) PathFinders, the only charity in Hong Kong dedicated to addressing the unique challenges faced by children born to migrant mothers, is thrilled to announce its collaboration with professional rugby player Russell Webb, who has become their first Child Ambassador. The partnership aims to raise awareness about the organisation’s crucial work within the Migrant Domestic Workers (MDWs) communities.
Catherine Gurtin, CEO of PathFinders, emphasized the organization’s unwavering commitment to prioritizing the well-being of children. “Children are at the core of PathFinders’ mission. Every child matters, including those born to migrant mothers in Hong Kong. We believe that every child deserves an identity, access to education, healthcare, food, and shelter,” she said. “As we celebrate our 15th anniversary, we reiterate our dedication to safeguarding and respecting the rights of children born to migrant mothers in Hong Kong.”
Russell Webb, a prominent member of the HK7s rugby squad, who recently secured a gold medal at the 2023 Asian Games, has been selected as PathFinders’ inaugural Child Ambassador. Gurtin praised Webb’s exceptional qualities on and off the field and highlighted his extensive experience working with children and young people, making him an ideal choice for the role.
Webb’s personal connection to the cause stems from his special relationship with his MDW Aunties Blandy and Charit, as well as his desire to give back, particularly to the next generation. “Being appointed as a Child Ambassador is still surreal to me,” expressed Webb. “In a way, I was once one of these ‘kids.’ I understand the significance of having a role model, someone to look up to. If I can positively impact just one child, I will consider it a great accomplishment.”
Webb further elaborated on his bond with the MDW community, highlighting the influential role played by his Aunties Blandy and Charit, who embodied both maternal and sisterly figures in his life. He credited them for their guidance, support, and the valuable life lessons they imparted, which contributed to his upbringing and sporting success.
During a recent visit to PathFinders, Webb had the opportunity to meet and engage with migrant mothers and their children, gaining firsthand insight into the challenges they face and the support provided by PathFinders.
One such beneficiary was Baby Jazleen, whose mother sought refuge at PathFinders’ shelter. The organisation assisted her in processing the necessary documentation to return to the Philippines, enabling them to embark on a new chapter in their lives.
Another individual Webb encountered was Baby Hamizan, whose mother initially approached PathFinders in October. As a holder of a recognizance paper, Baby Hamizan’s mother was ineligible for public healthcare. PathFinders’ healthcare team arranged pro bono medical assistance until Baby Hamizan’s birth. In July, facing homelessness, the organization provided shelter and encouraged Baby Hamizan’s mother to consider a more stable future. Currently, PathFinders is supporting her in liaising with the Immigration Department and assisting with all the necessary arrangements for their return home.
Reflecting on his experience, Webb expressed deep admiration for the strength and courage displayed by these women during such challenging times. Many of them face isolation, as fathers are often absent from their lives. Additionally, several have lost their jobs, leading to homelessness as a result of termination or eviction. Webb couldn’t help but be captivated by the adorable babies he encountered, questioning why these innocent lives shouldn’t have access to equal opportunities and a fair start in life.