We are serving one of the most underprivileged and vulnerable group in Hong Kong: the local Nepalese community. There are an estimated 40,000 people of Nepalese origin in Hong Kong, about a third of whom live in Yau Ma Tei and next-door Jordan.
Even after living in Hong Kong for decades they are still facing many difficulties. The language barrier has become one of the greatest challenges for their daily life since it limits job options and education opportunities, and causes social division.
A large proportion of young children are exposed to illicit drugs primarily through the use of these drugs in the neighborhood and their peers. The area in which our community lives have a high amount of drugs, triads and prostitution.
Though many Nepali kids are born in Hong Kong, they still face issues with applying for their Hong Kong citizenship. This results in an identity crisis and social discrimination, which leads them to frustration and disappointment. Being cast as outsiders from early on potentially leads to greater interest in joining gangs and triads.
The school dropout rate in the Nepali community is higher than other ethnic groups. According to the statistics published by the Hong Kong institute of Education, the dropout rate of youth aged 13-19 before Form 5 is highest is 20.6% for Nepalese, which is the highest among minorities. With few success stories to act as role models, few students pursue careers that require further studies.
Most parents work at simple low level jobs. Men mostly work in construction or as security guards and women work in the food and beverage industry. The hours are usually long and late and therefore it’s very hard to find extra time for their kids. The lack of family time leads to unhealthy family relationships and lack of proper parental guidance. As the children cannot find a healthy role model within the family, the same patterns repeat generation after generation.
Half of Nepalese families (50.2%) are four person households living in a very small size apartments. Because most of the family members work in low level jobs, a significant proportion of their monthly income goes to their rental payments. with an average of just 1.1 working member per household and median monthly household income of only HK$ 11.000, These families are facing difficulties to survive in one of the most expensive cities in the world.