Educate, Express, Empower: Work Is Work

Educate, Express, Empower zine-making workshop.

Earlier in January, my friend Bea of Small Tune Press and two friends from Consider the Trouble hosted a series of zine-making workshops entitled, “Educate, Express, Empower: Breaking the Silence of Migrant Women” at Hong Kong In-Media. The workshop was arranged by Mission for Migrant Workers (MFMW).

In Hong Kong, migrant workers are predominantly from Indonesia and the Philippines. They are employed as domestic helpers for both local Hong Kong and expat families. While this service is a normalized part Hong Kong society, migrant workers do not receive the support they deserve from both the Hong Kong government and their own. There have been many injustices and abuse towards these women, so organizations such as MFMW strive to protect and defend their rights, as well as bring light to any intolerance that may be hidden from the public media.

Photos from the zine booth on September 27, 2015.

Before zines were known as “zines,” they took the form of self-published newsletters and pamphlets, dating back to the 16th century! (source) Independent publications gave voice to the silenced. While zines started out on the politic front, they have since provided a platform for writers and artists, and continue to make waves in sociopolitical movements. So, the idea of introducing zines to one of HK’s largest, most marginalized group seemed like the right idea.

Educate, Express, Empower workshopA picture of a picture. Little ol’ me on the left, back when I had grey hair!

Bea invited me to one of the first sessions to give a brief talk about Like Like, but I found the workshop to be so inspiring that I attended a few more after that. We made miniature cut-and-paste zines, discussed content structure, and read work written by the participants. One woman is an avid photographer and shared her beautiful pictures.

Educate, Express, Empower workshopSharing work and ideas.

On September 27th, I attended the zine launch at Chater Garden in Central. Work Is Work, the title for MFMW’s first-ever zine, opened up with performances inspired by the zine, followed by a few readings, and closed with a rendition of Bob Marley’s “No Woman, No Cry.”

Work Is Work zine launchZine participants perform a skit about sexual harassment, inspired by a piece from “Work Is Work.”

Work Is Work zine launchThe launch ended with a dance to raise awareness for One Billion Rising, a global awareness effort to end violence towards women.

Contributors and participants of the zine.

Work Is Work zine launchA local HK artist created these mix-and-match stamps based on the women who participated in the zine. Super cute! 

Work Is Work!Work Is Work! I helped with the front and back cover. :)

This was an awesome experience and for such a great cause! I would love to participate again for their next issue.

The zine isn’t officially for sale as this is a non-profit organization, but all donations are welcome. If you’d like to get a copy, please email mfmw.eee@gmail.com or call +852 2522 8264.

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