Homeless pregnant mother strikes a blow at ISS-HK

Post Date: Mar 22nd, 2014 | Categories: Advocacy | COMMENT

Madam Lama is a hero to the Refugee Union. The courage and resilience of this diminutive lady are strong enough to win any struggle against International Social Service (“ISS-HK”) that deceived and attempted to crush her since she first received welfare in February 2011.

When refugees were received 1000$ in rent assistance, her ISS-HK case worker Helen Lee decide that Madam Lama and husband should receive just 700$ for rent and nothing for utility bills. Helen Lee singled out this couple for exceptionally harsh treatment.

During 2011, 2012 and 2013, Helen showed little consideration and no compassion towards this vulnerable Nepalese family. It is suspected that racist bigotry motivated systematic denial of services that ultimately pushed Madam Lama over the cliff of social injustice.

On 9 March 2014, Vision First blogged, “Homeless pregnant mother taken to hospital” and on 19 March we reported, “Pregnant refugee mother homeless again”. Flagrant neglect and egregious conduct by Helen ensured that a sick, pregnant mother and family were thrown into the street TWICE!

ISS-HK failed to provide financial assistance and assistance in-kind to meet this family’s basic needs. The Social Welfare Department (“SWD”) failed in its duties to oversee its rogue contractor. On 21 March 2014, Madam Lama applied for a High Court Writ of Summons against ISS-HK and SWD for failing in their duties.

Supported by 25 members of the Refugee Union, Madam Lama entered the High Court pushed on an office chair as she was too sick and weak to walk. The Honorable Mister Justice Peter Ng heard the application for an ex-parte mandatory injunction against ISS-HK and SWD.

The court was informed of ISS-HK welfare failure over three years and in particular of Helen Lee’s negligence that made a destitute family homeless twice in ten days despite medical certificates urging Madam Lama’s admission to hospital.

The legal instrument ISS-HK employed to evict refugee who occupied its offices, was turned against this agency. On the evidence, Justice Ng offered his sympathy and said, “I am very concerned the family is living on the street. I am prepared to make a mandatory order for them to live someplace else.”

Justice Ng heard that ISS-HK denied transport money, forcing Madam Lama to sell food rations to go flat-hunting without success for weeks. They were so hungry her 18 month-old son chewed on a shoe in an attempt to eat it. Madam Lama didn’t showered for days and had holes in her clothes and shoes.

Justice Ng made an injunction forcing the 1st Defendant (ISS-HK) and 2nd Defendant (SWD) to arrange immediate accommodation for the plaintiffs and to pay for such urgent accommodation whether by way of deposit, rent or otherwise in advance ahead of a return date to High Court next Friday.

The Honorable Mister Justice Peter Ng concluded by saying to barrister Robert Tibbo, who represented the plaintiffs pro bono, “Please explain to your clients that Court is very sympathetic to their situation.”

On 20 March 2014, Helen Lee increased Madam Lama’s rent allowance by 33% suspecting legal action was underway. Such practices raise suspicion about SWD’s control of a contractor that intervenes only after Vision First takes action to safeguard refugees’ rights and interests.

Hearing Helen’s desperate offer, Madam Lama said, “No, now no need! She made me suffer too much. Helen needs to pay for what she did. She is not pregnant. She is not jobless. She is not sick. Physically and mentally she tortured me so much. Helen must pay for this!” And David struck Goliath.

Madam Lama only became known to Vision First late February 2014 at the “Occupy SWD” protest camp. One wonders why fake NGOs and churches accepted the abuse ISS-HK inflicted on Madam Lama and family for three long years without taking action in her defense.