PathFinders Supports Pregnant Domestic Workers

PathFinders Supports Pregnant Domestic Workers


29-06-2022 | 5 min read

Given limited care options for young children and the elderly in Hong Kong, Migrant Domestic Workers (MDW) have become a critical source of support for many households. Hong Kong currently employs 340,000 MDWs, many of whom are women of childbearing age.

Despite legal protections, each year hundreds of expectant MDW mothers are unlawfully fired and pressured to leave or resign because they, and their employers, simply don’t know what else to do. When this occurs, the Migrant Domestic Worker immediately becomes homeless and within two weeks, when her working visa expires, she loses access to public resources, such as essential healthcare, which is necessary for prenatal screening and infant care.

For those unable to return home, their children are frequently undocumented, stateless and lack access to vital services including healthcare, shelter and education. Often destitute, these babies and their mothers are among the most vulnerable and under-served in Hong Kong.

What is the role of PathFinders in all of this?

PathFinders is a renowned Hong Kong charity dedicated to supporting the unique vulnerabilities of children born to migrant moms.

Since its founding in 2008, PathFinders has helped around 9,200 infants, children, and mothers. The organization was founded on the principle that no child should be born without an identity, basic necessities, access to healthcare, or a place to live.

They intervene during crises to comfort and care for children born to migrant mothers and ensure they have a Nurturing Care Plan in place during the most critical years of early childhood development. They empower migrant women to make well-informed life decisions that prevent future crises, and they provide employers with information and advice to enable pregnant MDWs to enjoy their right to maternity leave and maintain job security.

PathFinders is seeking affordable and viable solutions for employers to support their household needs when their MDW is on maternity leave. They engage with the general public to increase understanding, acceptance and support for children born to MDWs, and inspire systemic change by ensuring that policies and solutions exist to protect pregnant MDWs and their children.

Pathfinders Hong Kong

How does PathFinders support pregnant MDWs & Employers?

When an MDW's pregnancy is found or revealed, both the Domestic Worker and her employer are likely to be filled with mixed feelings about the future.

It often takes a lot of courage for a Domestic Worker to inform her employer she is expecting a baby. For those who planned their pregnancies, there may be a sense of nervous anticipation. Nevertheless for many others, love scams and a lack of reproductive health knowledge can lead to an MDW's unexpected pregnancy. When that occurs, the MDW may become confused and anxious.

When the employer learns that their MDW is pregnant, their initial feelings are frequently ones of shock, betrayal, and confusion. Their minds race with a lot of queries and worries. She came to Hong Kong to work, why did she get pregnant? My husband and I work full-time, will she be able to handle raising my young children while she is pregnant? What will we do when she will be on maternity leave? These are all very real worries that, if not carefully considered and planned for, could lead to the termination of an MDW and ultimately her child falling into crisis.

PathFinders provides practical advice and help to ensure a pregnancy is managed in the best interests of all parties - the MDW mother, the employer, and most importantly the unborn child.

Here are some useful resources for both MDWs and employers:

Resources for pregnant MDW

Resources for employers

Connect with PathFinders

Address: Unit 11C, Worldwide Centre, 123 Tung Chau Street, Tai Kok Tsui, Hong Kong


Facebook/Instagram: @pathfindershk

Facebook for MDW: @PFFMW