Giving thanks: Jie Jie Day 2018

Written by Christy Tam

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As of 2018, the Census and Statistics Department of the Hong Kong Government reports that the population of foreign domestic helpers in Hong Kong has risen by 138% between 2009 and 2017. Rising from an awareness of this significant population, is Jie Jie Day. The annual student-led initiative celebrates domestic helpers within the RCHK community, through one packed afternoon of entertainment, food, and beverages.

This year’s event was held on the 21st of September at the RCHK Performing Arts Centre. Doors opened at 1:00 pm officially. Upon entrance, 270 guests were gifted fresh roses from head of primary, Jamie Schmitz, and head of secondary, Natasha Williams.

A childcare team was made available to enable the guests to participate, as arranged by the student event management team, led by student head Bernice Tao, and supervised by MYP Arts teacher Sameera Pelham.

Student MCs Sammi Choi (Year 12) and Franz Fesalbon (Year 11), opened the event with a warm welcome to over 300 guests this year. Following a brief introduction, a moment of silence was held in dedication to Filipino citizens affected by the recent typhoon Mangkhut, which swept devastation across South-East Asia from September 9th to September 17th.

A pre-recorded performance of “I Wish I Could Kiss You Tonight” by The Unsung Heroes, a free choir set up by performing arts teacher Jane Engelmann and comprising of local domestic helpers, was followed by speeches delivered by NGOs Enrich, HELP For Domestic Workers, Mission For Migrant Workers, and Open Door.  

Later entertainment during the event consisted of performances by various RCHK student talent, including primary student performances by Star Ukulele and The Funk Division. A traveling photo-booth was also available to guests, in addition to a raffle ticket event that offered  a range of prizes, from Park N’ Shop coupons, to six episodically gifted, iPads.

Philippines consulate general Antonio Morales delivered an empowering speech in he which expressed his willingness to support the helpers and emphasized national solidarity.

Bernice Tao closed the event, cueing student volunteers in the distribution of goodie bags containing face masks, cosmetic supplies, stationary, and small electronic gadgets to guests.

“I hope that Jie Jie Day will create even more joy and happiness (for) even more helpers,” Tao remarked, upon being questioned on what she hoped to see in the future of the event.