Beginning my fellowship in September of 2021, I had no idea what was to come. Understanding that COVID-19 was hitting underprivileged communities like migrant domestic workers the hardest, I was passionate about addressing these issues. However, as a mere eighteen year-old, I had no idea how these issues could be tackled. Although I was entirely new to the world of PR and law, I signed up to the Justice Without Borders PR fellowship with hope to learn. Thankfully, the fellowship answered: immediately from my first day, I was surprised by the uniqueness of the organisation.
“We’re one of the only cross-border organizations for migrant domestic workers with a few offices in the region,” Jaime, the Program Officer in Hong Kong had told me, “that means our clients can receive support both when they first reach out to us in their country of work, and when they return home”.
Everyone had a unique background: from backgrounds in the law to fundraising, volunteers and long time employees, Indonesia, Singapore and Hong Kong. However, where everyone came together was the shared passion they had – making justice more accessible for migrant workers. Even as members of the team were explaining their roles within the organization to me through online calls, I could see the dedication in everyone’s eyes.
The moment I truly understood the importance of non-profit organisations like Justice Without Borders was one that stands out to me in particular: one of my first assignments, a write-up on a recent case of a client. Writing this article enabled me to sift through countless notes, court documents, and meeting minutes, where I saw real details about the client, actual evidence of the incident, and the comprehensive steps JWB took to support her. This assignment made me fully process just how significant JWB was to individual migrant domestic workers. It also showed me how the hours each member of the team put in could be integral in changing the outcome of people’s lives. Even when juggling school work with the fellowship was taxing, this instance alone motivated me to keep going.
Furthermore, as a PR fellowship, this opportunity doubled as an opportunity to shape my skills for crafting a story, something my PR lead Coffee taught me countless times about. Rather than stating facts, I began to learn how to deliver a story to others. Instead of just learning the technicalities about how to operate an editing software, I was taught to use visual cues to better capture our target audience, with the organisation’s key branding elements in mind. Each Wednesday morning when I met with the team, we experimented with new ways to express the organisation’s ideas. I learned a lot in our work to advance our social media’s strategies.
Although I am upset to end my fellowship and leave my incredible team, I am beyond grateful for the experiences I was able to gain through this opportunity, as well as the friends I was able to make. Not only did it teach me invaluable skills in the realm of PR, but it was my first exposure to professional experiences where I was certain about the cause it fought for.