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The People I Accompany

By Columban Lay Missionary Joan Yap

Columban Lay Missionary Joan Yap
Columban Lay Missionary Joan Yap (left) and a
Hope Center co-worker

I work as a shelter supervisor at the Hope Workers’ Center in Taiwan, and I can say that I enjoy the work.  Every day I facilitate activities for the residents in the shelter while waiting for their case or new employers. These activities help them lift up their spirits and encourage camaraderie among them.

Most of our residents are victims of labor trafficking.  They came to Taiwan as factory workers but ended up working as domestic helpers. Others came here as caregivers, but their employer abused them by giving them other work that is not covered in their contract as caregivers.

My role is quite challenging because I am dealing with four different nationalities and cultures – Thailand, Philippines, Indonesia, and Vietnam.  Communication is one of the major challenges since most of them don’t speak English or Mandarin. It takes a lot of patience to be able to listen and communicate with them, but I enjoy their company. I may not fully understand them but the best that I can do for them is be there for them as someone who listens and help ease their situation. I find myself learning and accepting of our differences and unique backgrounds.

Aside from being a shelter supervisor, I also served as an advisor to the group of Filipino immigrants called Chungli Association of Immigrants and Families (CAIF). On July 14, 2019, we had the first Mothers’ Recollection held at the Columban central house. Columban Fr. Joe McSweeny facilitated the recollection. The mothers were very happy to have that day of reflection, sharing and praying together. We are hoping to make this an annual affair and invite more immigrant mothers to come and join the CAIF recollection.

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